Come the 1st September 2019 we will astonishingly be a year into the National Lottery Community funded UK Meeting Centre Support Programme (UK MCSP) project. We thought it would be very timely before most people go off on a very well-earned break to have a quick review of what we have been doing since the first newsletter three months ago, alongside where we are and what we will be doing over the next three months.
What’s happened so far?
The aim of the UK MCSP project at the end of the three years is for between 15 and 20 new Meeting Centres (MCs) to be opened or under development across the UK for people and families affected by dementia. These can then act as demonstrator sites and centres of learning for others. There were already eight MCs at the start of the project, Droitwich Spa, Leominster, Ross, Brecon, Llandrindod, Ystradgynlais, Lutterworth and Northampton. We were delighted to be at the official launch of Kirriemuir on the 1st August. This is the first MC in Scotland and it has generated a great deal of interest, with the Minister for Health in Scotland amongst the guests at the launch.
The existing MCs have played a big role in the spread of MCs and there is a real Community of Learning and practice taking shape. There have been exchange visits between MCs and MCs have been welcoming visitors from across the UK and overseas.
Other MCs opening soon are Purbeck and Hereford in September and Newtown in October. Powys in Wales will then have four Meeting Centres and Herefordshire will have three. A number of community engagement events are planned, and with new enquiries coming in weekly, we expect there to be at least another three on top of those already mentioned opening before the end of the year. We seem to be on target with our aim!
We have held a number of Pioneer Workshops since April, in Plymouth, Worthing and Liverpool with workshops planned for Wrexham (18th Sept), Newcastle (26th Sept), Leeds (1st October), Manchester (9th October), Doncaster (5th November) and Northern Ireland to be confirmed over the coming few months.
Evidence and evaluation
Part of the UK MCSP project involves developing a toolkit for MCs to self-evaluate and collect data which will inform their strategy and operation as well as funders. It will also provide a body of evidence from across MCs which is essential in terms of influencing policy. With this in mind we now have ethical approval from the relevant University of Worcester ethics committee and Dr Shirley Evans, Jen Bray and Graham Galloway have been piloting the data collection tools at Leominster and Kirriemuir. The nature of the data to be collected has all been based on various data requested by different funders. We will be getting feedback on the toolkit so far and making the tools available to other MCs over the next few months.
The National Reference Group
The National Reference Group meets every six months with the last meeting taking place back in March and the next meeting being in October 2019. One key discussion point has been around the essential features of an MC. Professor Dawn Brooker has been leading on developing a short booklet identifying the key features together with a checklist with which existing and potential MCs can self-assess where they are and what they might to do to move forward. Again this is being piloted in some of the MCs. This document, once finally agreed by the group will be made available for everyone to use.
How can I find out more?
For further information and/or to contact us for support you can get in touch with us in many ways:
Web: https://www.worcester.ac.uk/discover/uk-meeting-centres-support-programme.html and https://www.worc.ac.uk/discover/meetingdem-jpnd.html
That’s it for now, but as you can see there’s a lot going on with the project. Exciting but busy times for everyone involved!
Connect with ADS on twitter @DementiaStudies and on Facebook @adsuow