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West Suffolk Councils

Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury Councils have a joint Strategic Plan which sets out our vision, priorities and key actions for West Suffolk in 2014 – 2016. Our vision: “Working together, Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury councils will support communities to create the best possible future for people in West Suffolk.” Our priorities: To help us deliver our vision we have developed priorities. They provide direction for focusing our efforts and resources in those areas which are the biggest priorities for West Suffolk. 1. Increased opportunities for economic growth 2. Resilient families and communities that are healthy and active 3. Homes for our communities The authorities employ 641 people to deliver services across West Suffolk, such as housing, planning, waste services and more. Most services come into contact with the public. Forest Heath District Council comprises of 27 councillors across 14 wards in the district and St Edmundsbury Borough Council comprises of 45 councillors across 31 wards in the borough.

14 December 2017
East of England
Local Alliances:
Bury St Edmunds Dementia Action Alliance , Newmarket Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

One of our priorities is to ensure resilient families and communities that are healthy and active. As part of this we want to see:

  • a thriving voluntary sector and active communities who take the initiative to help the most vulnerable;
  • people playing a greater role in determining the future of their communities;
  • improved wellbeing, physical and mental health; and
  • Accessible countryside and green spaces.

This priority ties in perfectly with creating a Dementia Friendly Organisation (DFO) at West Suffolk and for us to actively encourage and support the creation of Dementia Friendly Communities (DFC) across West Suffolk. Since 2013 the Families and Communities team have implemented an approach which looks to support and empower individuals and communities.

Our strategy and priorities directly link in with creating Dementia Friendly Communities and in addition links in with our Love Where You Love (LWYL) initiative. LWYL is all about a community making a positive difference, be that through organising a litter pick or supporting vulnerable individuals.

In addition our West Suffolk Volunteering Policy would enable staff to spend some work time supporting the work of local DAAs and the lives of those living with dementia.

Our journey to become a DFO and also supporting local Dementia Action Alliances (DAA) has only just started. We are already supporting the Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket Dementia Action Alliance and taking the next steps to encourage new DAAs in forming.

Our next steps will be to run Dementia Friends Information sessions within the organisation including to our elected Members and promoting Dementia Champions within the community and Parish and Town Councils. We want to assist in increasing public awareness and to provide information on dementia services available.

At our Parish and Town Conference in April 2016 we had an information session delivered by Sue Vincent at the Alzheimer’s Society talk to some of our elected Members and Parish Councillors about the simple steps it would take to become a DFC. This seemed to spark energy and enthusiasm to make small changes and look at how they could positively impact the lives of people living with dementia. We will also be including the local DAAs in our next Parish and Town Forum in November 2017.

Families and Communities Strategy https://www.westsuffolk.gov.uk/Council/Policies_Strategies_and_Plans/upload/West-Suffolk-FamiliesandCommunitiesStrategyNov2013.pdf

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

One challenge will be getting all staff participating on the Dementia Friends Session as this needs to be a voluntary decision. Working with colleagues in Learning and Development team we can positively promote the session and include in our induction for new staff. Ideally we would like all staff to complete the Dementia Friends sessions, but we plan to start with public facing staff initially to start to raise awareness and gain momentum, before involving wider groups of staff.

 Our second challenge will be sharing this message across West Suffolk, especially in the rural areas. We will overcome this by using the Officers in the Families and Communities team to deliver a consistent message and updates. In addition once staff at West Suffolk start to become ‘Dementia Friends’ and ‘Champions’ this will enable them to spread the word within their communities. 

2. Actions

  • Dementia Friends Information Sessions for all members

    All Members to be offered a face to face Dementia Friends session over the next 6 months. They will also be offered the online version if unable to attend Member Development sessions.

    • Liaise with Learning and Development and arrange 4 sessions (2 in each authority locality) for Members to attend.
    • Encourage our elected Members to do the online training if they would prefer.
    • Use a Dementia Friends Champion within the council or in the West Suffolk Dementia Friends Champions network to deliver the training.



    2017 - Fourth Quarter Update

    New Action 

  • Dementia Friends Information Sessions for all staff

    All staff at West Suffolk to have to opportunity to complete the Dementia Friends sessions. This can be face to face sessions, which can be run at different times to suit shift workers or online.  

    • Initially roll out to public facing staff and then roll out across the rest of the workforce
    • Lunch and Learn sessions and add the online session to the corporate induction
    • The option for the online and face to face delivery will be given to all staff
    • Encouraging staff to do online training and for it to be register on MiHR. Recognition by line managers when completed as a good learning and development intervention.

    2017 - Fourth Quarter Update

    New Action

  • Promote Dementia Friendly Communities across west Suffolk

    Promote Dementia Friendly Communities across the west Suffolk area. This is will actioned by the Families and Communities team and other Dementia Friends Champions created within the organisation.

    • Sending information out about DFC and Dementia Friends Sessions to our partners, community groups and parish councils.
    • Signposting to available sessions, relevant information and encouraging through the LWYL initiative DFC. 

    2017 - Fourth Quarter Update

    New Action