Dementia friendly community learning groups in Oxfordshire

ContactFunmi Durodola, Service Development Manager, Oxfordshire CCG
Telephone01865 334603
AddressJubilee House, 5510 John Smith Drive, Oxford Business Park South, Cowley, Oxford, OX4 2LH

This project will deliver a programme of awareness-raising, learning and volunteer action to create a network of 60 informed, supportive, dementia-friendly communities across Oxfordshire.

This project will ensure that:

  • Communities are dementia aware
  • People in those communities are supportive and responsive to people with dementia.
  • People with dementia and people affected by dementia live well.

We know that lack of awareness about dementia contributes to social stigma, isolation, a lack of community support. In addition, the lack of understanding of the needs of people with dementia by the workforce results in poor care experienced by the person and their carer, delays in the system and poor outcomes. Late presentation, often in crisis, results in hospital admission which may result in delayed transfer of care (DTOC). Oxfordshire has the worst DTOC in the country and we know that 60% of delayed patients have dementia. There are also many volunteers in the county, who, while doing their best to be helpful, have no dementia-specific training and sometimes feel out of their depth.

Learning from elsewhere

This project adopts the Learning Communities approach, a best practice programme of awareness-raising, learning and volunteer action that was successfully tested Oxfordshire in 2011-12 in a range of rural Oxfordshire communities. The project will extend this approach to create a network of 60 informed, supportive, dementia-friendly communities across Oxfordshire. This approach embodies the dementia-friendly communities approach called for in the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia 2012 report. It also draws on Hampshire’s ‘Dementia Friendly Communities’ project, run by Innovations in Dementia for the local authority (2011-12)8 and York’s Joseph Roundtree Foundation project, ‘Dementia without Walls’ project (ongoing since 2011).


The project will establish 60 volunteer-led, community groups in a range of Oxfordshire communities. Each group will undertake a short programme (six two-hour sessions) to learn about dementia then develop a practical plan to enable its community to become dementia-friendly. Learning will include input from specialist dementia trainers and also from providers of local dementia-related services. Planning will focus on practical ways for each community to support local people affected by dementia.

The project will network individual groups to share and develop ideas and effective local approaches. Success will be measured through a level of confidence analogue scale measuring:

  1. Confidence in recognition of someone who may have dementia
  2. Confidence in prompting action that results in the person having a memory test or diagnosis
  3. Confidence in giving support to someone following a dementia diagnosis

Anticipated outcomes

  • People acknowledge their memory problems and request assessment for diagnosis. Measured through baseline and self reported outcomes.
  • Reduced social isolation for people living with dementia and their families leading to admission avoidance and reduced length of hospital stays.
  • A competent voluntary workforce able to deliver sensitive, appropriate and personalised support to people with dementia and their carers. Workforce meets quality standards and possibly a reduction of the use of anti-psychotic medication, although this is currently below 3% in Oxfordshire.