Dementia patients sought for volunteer roles in joint police initiative
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Lincolnshire Police’s Boston Neighbourhood Policing Team has teamed up with other agencies and businesses to offer people living (living with or diagnosed with) dementia the chance to take up volunteer work placements to give them some ‘normality.’
The initiative was initially the idea of Police Community Support Officer Nigel Grant who has witnessed the impact dementia has had on his father.
This led to PCSO Grant and Boston Neighbourhood Policing Team, working with Boston Dementia Action Alliance (Multi Agency), St Botolph’s Church, Restore Church, Centenary Church, Cafe Noglish, Boston United Football Club and The University of Lincoln, to provide volunteer workplace opportunities, for individuals living with dementia, in the cafes and shops operated by partner organisations.
PCSO Grant said:
“Initially, we are offering five individuals living in the Borough of Boston and living with dementia, the opportunity to work as volunteers for a 24-week period, with participating organisations. This will be a great opportunity, particularly for those who feel isolated or lonely, to have the chance to maintain their independence and return to the workplace, be part of a team of dedicated and enthusiastic individuals and continue to make valuable contributions to the community.
“Of course, we are keen to assess the impact this opportunity will have on our volunteers, local businesses and the wider community and with the help of The University of Lincoln, we will carry out a meaningful assessment of the initiative from the initial phase and throughout the 24-week period until its conclusion. The results of the evaluation we hope, will mirror those of the Channel 4 experiment and will enable us to hopefully extend the scheme to other organisations within the Borough of Boston.
“My father was diagnosed with dementia several years ago. As a result of this, I have first hand experience of the impact the diagnosis has had on him and also our family. I guess the feeling of isolation, despite having a loving family around him 24/7 is perhaps uppermost in my father’s thoughts with constant requests for me or family members to take him out for a coffee and to meet other people”.
“I know this is not a unique situation and the feeling of isolation features highly amongst those living with dementia. Hopefully this initiative will give those living with dementia and feeling in a similar situation to my father, the opportunity to be included once more and make a valuable contribution within the community of Boston”.
The initiative is in response to an appeal made following the airing in 2019 of the Channel 4 programme, “The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes.”; a programme about individuals diagnosed with dementia, many of whom felt isolated as a result of being diagnosed and giving up their job. The creation of the restaurant gave them the opportunity to return to the workplace and contribute once again. During the programme, an appeal was made for more businesses/organisations to get involved by providing workplace opportunities and our initiative is a direct response to the appeal . For more information about the Channel 4 programme please see below.
We would like to thank the organisations and business for their support.
Adam Kelk - Head Verger, St Botolph’s Church
“We are delighted to be working with partners in welcoming those living with dementia to St Botolph’s (Boston Stump) to volunteer with us. St Botolph’s prides itself in welcoming all who live in Boston to work with us and offer hospitality to all those who visit. Our ambition is to include all those who make up the community of Boston and this is another way in which we can achieve this.”
Rev Dr Val Ogden - Minister, Centenary Church
“Centenary Church on Red Lion Street has a huge heart to see everyone's talents appreciated and celebrated, including those who may be living with dementia. Being involved in this initiative through providing volunteering opportunities, space to meet, activities and friendship will be a blessing all round as we give and receive from one another. Thanks for the opportunity to take part.”
Debbie Broadley – Boston Dementia Action Alliance
"I am excited to see Nigel’s (PCSO) hard work nearing its launch. The Channel 4 programme highlighted some of the many challenges faced by those living with dementia but also how opportunities to overcome some of those challenges could be provided.
The Boston Dementia Initiative will now offer opportunities to those living with dementia, in and around Boston, thanks to the kind co-operation of 5 local partner organisations.
The partners of the DAA work constantly towards creating a Dementia Friendly Boston. This initiative is an amazing example of what can be achieved when someone has a vision and we work together to realise this.
I would like to wish everyone involved good luck. There will be challenges ahead but I can’t wait to hear some great success stories. Well done Nigel."
Inspector Harrod - Neighbourhood Policing Inspector, Boston
"Dementia brings huge changes to very many lives and in the Police, we are often called to help families in the most difficult and dangerous of situations, for example when those living with dementia go missing or are in crisis. This project hopes to increase wellbeing, guard against loneliness and to protect against vulnerability whilst giving those living with dementia in our community the opportunity to get involved in something incredibly worthwhile for themselves and others.
It is typical of Boston that PCSO Nigel Grant’s idea and hard work has drawn a hugely positive response from everyone that has been approached and that so many wonderful organisations are involved. I have no doubt that in working together on this initiative, we can change many lives for the better."
Mark Pearce and Anne-Britt Pearce – Café Owners,Cafe Noglish
“Our focus is on engaging with the community and this initiative gives us the opportunity to help and support people with dementia. We are very pleased to be able to play our part.”
Emma FawcettRestore Homes Key Worker Manager - Restore Church
“Restore Church seeks to provide a welcoming and inclusive space which people are happy to call home. It is our heart that everyone, including those living with dementia have the opportunity to volunteer in a safe and welcoming environment where their contribution is meaningful and valued.”
Rebecca Barker - General Manager - Boston United Football Club
“There was no doubt that we wanted to take part in this fantastic initiative, and we would like to thank Boston Dementia Initiative for giving us the opportunity to play our part in helping those living with dementia. One of our main focus' at the football club is to help and support people in our local community and give them opportunities to be involved. Dementia is something that could affect everyone at some point in their life, so to be able to give someone the chance to volunteer at the stadium in a safe and welcoming environment, a space to meet new people and have their talents appreciated and valued is just fantastic”.
Dr Stephanie Armstrong - Senior Lecturer in Health Quality Improvement/ Programme Leader - Lincoln University
“The University of Lincoln are delighted to be supporting the Boston Dementia Initiative. Our Health and Social Care students will have the opportunity to be involved with this initiative supporting the organisations involved to evaluate the impact it will have on the individuals, businesses, and wider community. Supporting the local community is a vital aspect of the University ethos and helping students to understand how initiatives such as this one can positively impact on everyone involved is an important lesson both as part of their studies and for their future practice in the workplace.”
Josh Horne – Senior Partnerships Account Executive - Alzheimer’s Society
“Alzheimer’s Society is committed to helping people with dementia to live well and maintain a good quality of life. We are proud to work alongside Boston Police to enable people living with dementia to have the opportunity to volunteer within the community and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness whilst bringing routine and a sense of belonging. We hope that this initiative can be a starting point to empowering more people with dementia to stay involved in their community and live well with the condition.”
To find out more about the placements, please read the attached job roles for each location. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer or care for someone living with dementia who you feel would benefit from working as a volunteer, please register your/their interest by completing the attached form and return it to the address provided on the application form. If you are interested in more than one venue, please complete an application for each of the organisations you are interested in. You can send your application form by email, post or in person as outlined on the forms.