SCI-Dem resources – what are they and why should I take a look?

Our SCI-Dem project ended recently, but has three resources which are now available for everyone to use. Although it’s got its own blog site we thought we’d give a quick overview of the resources here to help spread the word as we think they’re worth knowing about.

Can you remind me what SCI-Dem is about?

SCI-Dem stands for ‘Sustainable Community Interventions for people affected by Dementia’. The project carried out a realist review, which in very basic terms means it gathered together a wide range of information about the problems faced by groups that meet regularly to support people affected by dementia. This information was then analysed to work out how it all linked together and identify successful strategies and good practices that help groups to be sustainable in the longer-term.

What are the resources?

Three booklets were produced as a result of the project, summarising the main recommendations from the evidence captured during the realist review. Each is tailored for a different audience:

  • Booklet 1 for people who are planning or running groups and activities – Keeping community groups and activities going – Sustainable Community Interventions for people affected by Dementia: Recommendations for practice from the SCI-Dem Project
  • Booklet 2 for commissioners and policy-makers – Sustaining community groups and activities for people affected by dementia: Recommendations from the SCI-Dem Project for commissioners and policy-makers
  • Booklet 3 for members of groups and clubs – Helping your community group or activity club to keep going strong: Suggestions for members of groups and clubs from the SCI-Dem Review

While each booklet is different depending on the audience, the underlying structure relates to eight key areas that make community-based groups and activities sustainable:

  • Getting members
  • Keeping members
  • Getting staff and volunteers
  • Keeping staff and volunteers
  • Getting funding and income
  • Keeping funding and income
  • Getting the support of other organisations
  • Keeping the support of other organisations

How will the resources help me?

Running a group or activity for people affected by dementia can be challenging and keeping it going long-term can be even more so – especially in a climate where community awareness and resources can vary dramatically from place to place, where funding is hard to come by and often short term, and where there is no standard, formal support for such groups.

There is no “silver bullet” to solve these problems, but part of the battle is raising awareness of the challenges that such groups face, and why. Much of what is in these booklets will be familiar to those working with such community groups – the problems groups face in keeping going are much talked about, but have received almost no direct research attention. These booklets aim to draw together and map out all of the issues that groups and activities commonly face in keeping going, and to go one step further, making recommendations about how to avoid such pitfalls and maximise chances of success, informed by the evidence “out there”.

For those planning and running such groups, we hope these booklets will provide both practical information that people can apply, as well as perhaps raising some issues they may not have considered to help them navigate the rocky road to establishing a stable and sustainable group.

For commissioners and policy makers, these booklets aim to provide food for thought regarding things that might be worth considering when making decisions that could impact the sustainability of provision to support people living with dementia in the community.

For people attending such groups, we hope these booklets will give them a few ideas for how they might help support their group to keep going strong – and we hope it will give people an idea of the research going on with such groups and what it says, for those interested.

Ok that sounds good, where can I get a copy?

The good news is that they are freely available for anyone to download from the ADS website, or you can get a copy using the links below:

For more information:

SCI-Dem Project online blog:

You can also contact Thomas Morton who was the Research Associate on the SCI-Dem project.


Twitter: @ThomasMortonADS

Connect with ADS on twitter @DementiaStudies and on Facebook @adsuow

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