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St Guthlac's Church

We are a Church of England Church serving the people of Market Deeping, we provide a range of worship opportunities as well as varied social activities and support for the local community

11 November 2018
East Midlands
Local Alliances:
South Lincolnshire 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?

By offering dementia friendly worship we are striving to support personal choice and creating an open and supportive environment for people with dementia. We hope to be able to support people in planning for their future, including preparation for funeral arrangements. We aim to work more closely with carers and form relationships with other local support charities to enable carers to attend services alone, with respite care provided, should this be required.

By educating our sidespeople and congregation as a whole through dementia friends sessions we are aiming to give people with dementia, and carers, a safe and understanding space.  We hope that this promotes an enabling and supportive environment where people with dementia and their carers can, if they wish, talk openly about their diagnosis and the effect it has on their lives. 

Through prayer and joint worship we aim to support all people with dementia and their carers to continue a meaningful and enriching relationship with God. We are continuing to adapt our service order with a view to offer a monthly service specifically for people with dementia and we are strengthening our links with our local care homes to promote a closer relationship. We currently provide a communion service in 2 care homes but we are aiming to create a service in Church that would be accessible to all.


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

Our built environment offers particular challenges. St Guthlac's has Victorian pews and this makes accessibility difficult. We are going through a consultation to remove a small number of pews which will make the building more wheelchair friendly but this will only address that particular issue. We are conscious that our signage for the toilet is inadequate and we are currently addressing this. There are also issues with lighting and the sound system that need to be addressed. 

2. Actions

  • Sidespeople and wider church community to become dementia friends

    St Guthlac's has a committed team of sidespeople to assist at services, they welcome people to the Church, hand out service orders, help people to their seat and are on hand throughout the service to assist when required. As part of the annual training programme all sidespeople will attend a dementia friends session and will be encouraged to sign up. All people who have signed up as dementia friends will be required to wear their dementia friend badge whilst they are on duty so they are recognisable to people with dementia, their friends, family and carers

    Being implemented
  • St Guthlac's would like to extend and strengthen our ties with local care homes.

    We currently offer a monthly communion service at the 2 care homes in Market Deeping, Rose Lodge and The Laurels. Drawing on our experience of these services we would like to investigate offering a service at Church where we could support residents to attend. Service orders will need to be modified so they are suitable for people with more advanced stages of dementia. We are also fostering greater ties by supporting residents to attend our monthly Soup and Social lunch and are looking for volunteers to help some residents attend Church regularly on Sunday morning

    Being implemented
  • Improve signage and accessibility

    St Guthlac's offers an accessible toilet facility however this currently has no sign and is not obvious from the main body of the Church. Signage needs to be implemented so that the toilet facility is easily recognised and accessed. Currently St Guthlac's has pews throughout - this makes accessibility difficult for anyone with a mobility issue and especially for people in a wheelchair. A study is currently on going to consider the removal of a portion of the pews - this would make a free space at the rear of the Church which would not only improve access but also provide a useful space which could be offered as a meeting space to the local dementia support service

  • Enable people with dementia to participate fully in services through use of improved service orders

    Our current service orders are not dementia friendly. St Guthlac's has committed to address this, when the congregational service orders are next rewritten there will be a version produced with clear instructions involving fewer words and using symbols where appropriate. The Church has access to appropriate software to produce printed communication providing people with clear visual communication. This is not only more accessible to people with dementia but is also suitable for people with a range of communication difficulties, including children