It’s been a while since we posted an update on the Get Real with Meeting Centres project on this blog, mainly for one good reason – we’ve been very busy getting it done!
Since the last post, we’ve poured over, sifted, organized, analysed the vast volume of various data we have gathered over the past two years; we’ve consulted people, discussed, debated, held it up to the light and looked at it from different angles… and considered how to present all.
Officially, the project ended on March 3 and, indeed, all the data collection and analysis is done and dusted, conclusions drawn and a full and detailed report on what we have found submitted to our funders (the NIHR’s Research for Social Care programme).
However, as is usual with big research projects, the work does not stop there and does not fit neatly into project start and end dates. Just as there was plenty to do before the official start, to prepare for the project, there’s plenty still to do now that it’s ‘done’.
The focus is now very much on getting the word out. We’re busy creating a range of materials to share with people to let them know what we’ve learnt, we’re planning a launch/end-of-project celebration event to talk about the project and its findings and, of course, we’re writing up various parts of the project for publication in academic journals.
Booklets and videos
We’re in the process of creating a series of short videos covering the different topics that arose in this research. The videos will cover seven broad (and overlapping) areas:
- Referrals to Meeting Centres, and the dementia care pathway
- Reaching people and Meeting Centre membership
- Carer benefit and engagement
- Venue and location
- External relationships and collaboration
- Internal relationships and working practices
- And finances and funding
These topics and the learning we have gained in the Get Real study will also be covered in booklets that we are producing for various different audiences.
We are holding an end-of-project celebration event at the University of Worcester Arena on July 12th, to thank everyone who took part and reveal what we have learnt – including the unveiling of our booklets and videos. We will also discuss what’s happening with Meeting Centres around the UK and how the Get Real findings might inform next steps – what can be done to boost the sustainability of Meeting Centres, locally and across the UK.
If you are interested in attending, please drop us a line (at firstname.lastname@example.org)!
We published our project protocol in BMJ Open in 2022. Now we’ve had our first results paper accepted for publication (but yet to be published) in Working With Older People, on what we found out about the impact and legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic with regards to Meeting Centres in this study. This was not the main focus of the Get Real project, but as the study began during the pandemic we included data on this in what we captured.
Otherwise we are writing papers on other aspects of the project, to be submitted/published later this year: Membership and referral/care pathway issues for Meeting Centres; barriers to attendance of Meeting Centres; our DCE questionnaire on what people value about the Meeting Centre offer; and what we learnt about organizational/working practices at Meeting Centres.
We will update further as our videos, booklets and publications become available – watch this space!