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Catholic Diocese of Leeds

The Catholic Diocese of Leeds is one of 22 Dioceses that make up the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The Diocese comprises the whole of West Yorkshire, with the exception of the parish of Todmorden, together with parishes in the East Riding, North Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and Lancashire. In total, there is a network of more than 80 parishes across 12 deaneries and nearly 100 Catholic schools and colleges.

21 November 2018
Yorkshire and Humber
Charity, Faith Groups
Local Alliances:
Yorkshire & Humber Dementia Action Alliance, Bradford District Dementia Action Alliance, Leeds Dementia Action Alliance, Wakefield and Five Towns Dementia Action Alliance, Rotherham Dementia Action Alliance, Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance, Doncaster Dementia Action Alliance, Harrogate and Rural District Dementia Action Alliance, Calderdale Dementia Action Alliance, East Riding Dementia Action Alliance, Hambleton Dementia Action Alliance, Settle Dementia Action Alliance, Richmondshire Dementia Action Alliance, Skipton & South Craven 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?

Among the thousands of people who attend our church services each week, there are a significant number of people living with a dementia and their carers. Our clergy, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, SVP members (Society of St Vincent de Paul) and chaplains to hospitals, care homes and prisons are also ministering to a large number of people with a dementia who are unable to attend a parish church. Our vision is to treat people living with a dementia with respect, to deliver a person centred service that is based on Catholic teaching and will utilise the skills and resources in the wider Catholic community to enable those with a type of dementia to fulfill their pastoral and spiritual needs, both in the Church and in the wider community.

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

One of the main obstacles will be to overcome negative perceptions people may hold about those living with a dementia. At present we have little knowledge of the current level of skills or awareness in the community relating to dementia. We have heard of some inspiring parish responses, including a monthly memory mass, memory cafes and activity groups, but there has been no comprehensive audit undertaken. There will be practical problems when looking at encouraging parishes to continue to take steps to become more dementia friendly. The age of some of our buildings may limit the level of change possible to facilitate a dementia friendly environment. Limited human and financial resources will affect the project and timescale of the necessary changes. The project and the proposed developments will be dependent on the goodwill and active participation of local volunteers.

2. Actions

  • 1. To make the Alzheimer's Society Dementia Friends’ awareness programme available in all our parish communities.

    The Dementia Friends’ awareness programme will be offered by parishioners or diocesan personnel who are already Dementia Friends’ Champions, and in other areas directly by Alzheimer's Society. The long term aim would be for every parish to have a Dementia Friends’ Champion who would take an active part in developing a network of Dementia Friends within the church and parish; using the programme’s online resources to share ideas and good practice with groups and local community services, and work in partnership with people living with dementia and their carers.

     Our target until December 2018 is to have 10 more parishes holding Dementia Friends’ information sessions.

    Being implemented
  • 2. To include the Dementia Friends’ awareness session in the training of key personnel.

    We will offer a Dementia Friends’ awareness session to all the clergy in our Diocese with the aim that 50 (c. 30%) have attended a session by March 2019. We will also offer the session to SVP members (Society of St Vincent de Paul), Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, as part of the training of new Permanent Deacons and in the regular in-service training offered to our Hospital and Prison Chaplains.

    Being implemented
  • 3. To make accessible more in-depth resources for key personnel to help in ensuring the practice of faith and spiritual needs are acknowledged and met.

    We will develop insights, practical advice, tips and suggestions for helping our clergy, SVP members, Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion and Chaplains explore what good spiritual care can be. We are planning to hold a Dementia Friendly Carol Service at a centrally accessible venue for Christmas 2018.

    Being implemented
  • 4. To review the pastoral care of diocesan priests living with a dementia.

    In March 2018 Bishop Marcus and Catholic Care, a registered domiciliary care provider with CQC, launched a new service summarised in a document which will form an appendix to the revised policy for retired clergy in the Diocese of Leeds: “The Provision of Support for Retiring and Retired Priests within the Diocese of Leeds in Collaboration with Catholic Care.”  The usual age of retirement for a Priest is 75 years. This service covers many aspects of life for those retiring or retired for without some kind of structure being planned for retirement there is a risk for a priest’s future spiritual, emotional and physical wellbeing.

    There are currently approximately 50 retired clergy with several more retiring this summer 2018.  Our plan is to meet with all retired clergy within the next 6 months and assess their health and housing needs.  If required an appropriate care or support plan will be delivered including for those living with dementia.

    Being implemented