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Parish of the Durham Martyrs

The Parish of Durham Martyrs’ has an Inclusive Group which is a faith-based group, part of a local Catholic Church with feeder primary and secondary schools linked to the parish. The Group was formed initially as a “Dementia Group” as we saw a need in the Parish to provide assistance to sufferers of dementia and their carers. While this remains a major part of our activity to date we have broadened the scope both to assist those also suffering from physical disabilities of any type and to reach out to the wider local non-Catholic community. Therefore, the name has changed to “Inclusive Group” in line with this

13 March 2018
North East
Faith Groups
Local Alliances:
County Durham Dementia Action Alliance, North East Dementia 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?

We see our role as being actively involved in providing facilities and appropriately trained people to actively assist those suffering from dementia and their carers.

As part of this, we have put measures in place to enable us to be classed as a “Dementia Friendly Community”. This has included running dementia friends training session for our Group members and four of our Group also undertaking “Dementia Champions” training.  We have started a “Memory Café” which runs monthly for dementia sufferers and their carers.

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

Raising members’ understanding of dementia.

Finding adequate numbers of people in the parish to support and deliver all the items in our action plan as well as running a monthly Memory Café.

Member contacts

Graham Donachie
Parish of the Durham, Martyrs, St Josephs RC Church, Mill Lane, Gilesgate, Durham DH1 2JG

Member website


2. Actions

  • Communications plan developed and implemented

    Update parish web site with details also displayed on dedicated noticeboard to display latest news, information leaflets which we could receive from Alzheimer’s Society, social services, listing useful numbers etc.

    Establish effective communication links with other key relevant parish groups e.g. SVP, bereavement, eucharistic ministers who may be able to identify parishioners in need of support.

    Carers-develop communication strategy to firstly identify them and sensitively explore their needs.

    Caring services-develop key links locally and nationally (Alzheimer’s’ Society etc) make them aware Durham Martyrs is an Inclusive Church and welcoming people of all faith.

  • Recruitment, education and training of volunteers and Group members

    Recruit “welcomers” and “volunteers” to assist those attending church services

    Organise formal training sessions for welcomers and volunteers to
    -help them identify people needing help
    -how to introduce themselves most effectively and undertake “housekeeping” duties.
    -how to approach people that might need help without offending them
    -how to know when it is appropriate to help or intervene
    -what would be appropriate/inappropriate actions to take, when and under what circumstances
    Inclusive Group-recruit additional members to help deliver action plan.
    Inclusive Group members-dementia friends training and dementia champions training.

  • Improve physical environment to be “dementia friendly”

    Following actions are required:
    -building review by Alzheimer’s society-look at suitability of building including signage
    -establish “quiet” spaces in church-somewhere to retreat if feeling anxious or confused
    -navigation including signage-clear signs for identifying areas (toilet, exit etc) and consideration of “landmarks” as visual prompts for identifying areas (e.g. statues, noticeboards etc)
    -seating-variation in type (replace some pews with chairs) to allow flexibility in positioning wheelchairs, buggies, sticks. Consider comfort for those in pain (supply cushions etc)
    -lighting-maximise natural light and minimising dark shadows or bright lights
    -flooring-consider hazards of slipping and highly reflective surfaces or bold floor patterns that can confuse and alarm people with perceptual problems.
    Other-invite people to share what they find problematic in accessing the environment and attending a full church service (e.g. pain and discomfort can limit peoples’ ability to attend and remain).