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Collaborating for the Sustainability of Meeting Centres

For this blogpost, we hand over to Faith Frost to hear about the role of ‘Collaborators’ on the Get Real project:

We are really lucky to be working with an exciting group of collaborators within the Get Real with Meeting Centres project (which is funded by NIHR). The Get Real project is gathering knowledge and experience from people involved with Meeting Centres in the UK, about what the challenges and successes have been in keeping these community-based centres going to support people and families affected by dementia. The team at the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS), University of Worcester meets every month to discuss the progress of the project, but we also have a bigger meeting every few months with a wider team of people from outside the University who are crucial to doing this research, to share our progress and get their feedback and advice on what to do next.

Earlier in February we met together via Zoom. Thomas Morton, Research Associate at ADS, presented where we are at now that we have hit year two of the project. Thomas discussed our plans for interviewing “external” people involved in Meeting Centres – that is people who have worked with, supported or have some experience of the Meeting Centres, but aren’t directly running or attending them. He also discussed the roll out of our DCE (discreet choice experiment) questionnaire as described in our blog last week and our plans for data analysis. If you are a carer with experience of Meeting Centres and think you can help, please do so by completing the DCE questionnaire here.

Take our survey!

Professor Dawn Brooker MBE and Dr Shirley Evans were also in the meeting as joint co-Principal Investigators on the project, along with Dr Chris Russell, our co PPI (Patient and Public Involvement) lead. We were also joined by Jennifer Bray our Research Assistant working on the project and myself, Faith Frost, Research Associate.

New to the team, we were very pleased to welcome Ruby Swift to the meeting, who has been recruited by ADS to work on an extra, new work package (WP5) that has recently been green-lit by the NIHR. This part of the project will specifically look at who is not being reached by Meeting Centres and the reasons why.

I thought that I would take this opportunity to introduce and celebrate our brilliant and diverse group of collaborators to the project. They all provide fantastic insights, experience and guidance as experts in their individual fields.

First up in the group we have Phillipa Bruce-Kerr Chair of Trustees at Leominster Meeting CentreDeborah Gerrard Chief Officer of Dementia Matters in Powys and Alan Humphries Chair of Trustees at Droitwich Meeting Centre. We are incredibly lucky to have all three in our collaborators group, who really understand how meeting centres operate and how best to work with members of meeting centres, family carers and staff effectively and appropriately. Phillipa, Deborah and Alan all have a wide variety of additional backgrounds and experiences which is a brilliant resource for the team.

Hannah Perrott works for Worcestershire County Council as Assistant Director for Communities. Hannah’s expertise lie in local social care issues and dissemination. Hannah is a co-applicant on the project and working with particularly to assist with work package 4 of the project (Developing Theory and Materials).

Nigel Hullah is chair of the 3 Nations Dementia Working group. Nigel is a co-applicant and PPI co-lead with Dr Chris Russel on work package 1 (PPI/Stakeholder and Engagement) on the project. Nigel was diagnosed with early onset dementia in 2013 and is engaged with work around social justice and human rights for people with dementia. 

Dr Geoff Wong works at the University of Oxford as Associate Professor of Primary Care. Geoff is a co-applicant on the project and is working to provide his expertise and guidance on realist synthesis and evaluation particularly within work package 3 (Developing Theory and Materials).

Dr Michela Tinelli works at London School of Economics as Assistant Professional Research Fellow and NIHR SSCR Fellow. Michela is a co-applicant on the project and working as the expert on discreet choice experiments, health economics and analysis.

Thank you to all of our collaborators for your work on the Get Real with Meeting Centres project.

For any further details about the project, please contact Thomas Morton t.morton@worc.ac.uk or Faith Frost f.frost@worc.ac.uk.

You can also read more about the wider work of the Association for Dementia Studies on their blog site.

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

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UK Meeting Centres Support Programme

Keep up to date with everything Meeting Centres - community based innovation supporting people living with dementia. Find out about the latest developments including new Meeting Centres. Perhaps you will be inspired to set up a Centre in your community?

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