Dementia friendly Plymouth

ContactRachel Silcock, Commissioning Officer
AddressPlymouth City Council, Windsor House, Plymouth, PL6 5UF

This project aims to make Plymouth a dementia friendly city in which people with dementia can enjoy the same opportunities to take part in a social life, live independently and engage in everyday activity as other people, without fear of stigma or rejection.

Our Dementia Friendly City programme, which is co-ordinated by the Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance, will focus on:

  • Developing our nationally recognised Health and Social Care Library Hubs further to support people with dementia to access information about local services and facilities
  • Working in partnership with Plymouth’s Stoke Dameral Community College that has been chosen to be part of Angela Rippon’s Dementia Challenge schools project. This will ensure that young carers and young people generally can understand dementia and be more confident to know they can offer support that is valued by older people.
  • Building on the work that has been tested by Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance to raise awareness among the wider community and businesses about dementia. This will be in partnership with the City’s Economic Development and other strategic partners, the Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Businesses. This will include awareness raising and training of front line staff. This work will be carried out in collaboration with the new Dementia Support Workers to ensure that awareness raising about dementia is well co-ordinated across the city.
  • Appointing a Dementia Action Alliance Co-ordinator who will be taking a community development approach to working with people with dementia and the wider community to ensure that capacity is built within community organisations to support people with dementia. One aspect of this will be to ensure that people with dementia are involved in the planning and future implementation of development schemes and neighbourhood regeneration as well as linking with major housing providers to recognise the impact of the physical environment in reducing potential barriers and the sense of isolation
  • Ensuring that people with dementia and their carers can continue to access social networks and local facilities by increasing the capacity of the Befriending Service. The Dementia Support Workers will identify people who would benefit from the Befriending Service and refer people into the service. This will enable the Dementia Support workers to move people on to community based support and away from reliance on primary health care services.
  • Working with the arts, culture and leisure sectors to develop good quality opportunities to engage and participate in the arts, culture and leisure.  The Arts Council have indicated that they would be interested in match funding this element of the project


The innovation will be in the range and diversity of our Dementia Friendly City Programme. It will be to embed the work that has already been tested in libraries and with a small number of businesses in the city by extending this work to make sure that dementia is everyone’s business.

The libraries work we have done so far has already resulted in the highly successful use of libraries for awareness raising events and a new collection of books and resources as well as the formation of two new support groups for people with dementia and their carers.  We would like to develop this further with further awareness raising in libraries for staff and the public and an increase in the number of support groups in libraries.

By raising awareness and changing the culture of organisations such as libraries, schools, the NHS and businesses we will create sustainable improvements in the quality of life for people with dementia. We will ensure that all support services are truly accessible to people with dementia and the result will be a menu of support to people with dementia covering early intervention, information and advice, low-level support and opportunities to get involved in arts and culture.

By linking people with dementia into the development and planning process we will influence the physical environment which will have an impact for years to come.


  • To ensure that people with dementia and their carers are involved at all levels in the development of a Dementia Friendly City
  • To ensure that dementia awareness raising is co-ordinated across the city and people are well supported into the health dementia pathway
  • To increase access to community based 1 – 1 and group support for people with dementia
  • To achieve an evaluated programme of activity in schools that will enhance the understanding of young people and young carers and include intergenerational work
  • To enhance the Library Health Project with further support and information to people with dementia in libraries
  • To strengthen the strategic approach being taken by the Dementia Action Alliance to  deliver sustainable changes towards making Plymouth a Dementia Friendly City
  • To develop and skill up a range of arts, cultural and leisure organisations and evaluate the impact on people with dementia

Anticipated outcomes

  • Better access to information and advice locally  through venues such as libraries
  • Higher numbers of people identified as having dementia in the early stages through dementia awareness training of staff – e.g. libraries, shops, customer service organisations.
  • Easy and appropriate referral routes into the health dementia pathway by working with the Dementia Support Workers.
  • Social Inclusion  –  people with dementia not being excluded from taking part in the same social and community opportunities as their peers through more 1 to 1 support, community development approaches and awareness raising
  • Improved Health and Quality of Life – People with dementia access low level support services, arts and leisure to ensure they are maintaining their health and achieving a good quality of life
  • A Chance to have a say – people with dementia being involved in consultation around future developments and neighbourhood regeneration
  • Intergenerational engagement – Young people having more confidence and engaging more effectively with people who have dementia
  • Improved mental health – whether through engagement in the arts, leisure or other elements of the programme of Dementia Friendly Communities work
  • Active ageing and increased participation –  in arts, culture and leisure for people with dementia and their carers

Progress update

Plymouth City Council is working in partnership with organisations representing health, education, business, transport and community engagement, to implement the development and assessment of Dementia Friendly Communities within Plymouth in the following ways:

  • our pilot school, Stoke Dameral Community College, has delivered a highly successful programme across the school curriculum and involving pupils of all ages
  • we have increased the number of people with dementia and carers who are able to access our Befriending Service
  • we have run a series of successful and high profile awareness raising events, including in our libraries
  • we are working with the Alzheimer’s Society and the Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance to run regular ‘Dementia Friends’ information sessions in organisations across the City. From Autumn 2013 Dementia Friends Information Sessions will be run on a monthly basis in libraries across Plymouth with the aim of providing free dementia awareness to members of the general public and helping build on the community of ‘Dementia Friends’ across the City.
  • we are working with the Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance to develop the ‘recognition process’ within Plymouth as established and governed by the Alzheimer’s Society. This will include monitoring the regular assessment, evaluation and development of Dementia Friendly provision within affiliated organisations.
  • we are encouraging the involvement of people living with dementia and their carers in all aspects of civic life in Plymouth. This includes involving people with dementia in the consultation and assessment of what is means to be ‘dementia friendly.’
  • we are building on previous work to further increase access to information relating to Dementia Friendly Communities; this includes providing information through printed literature, websites, outreach events and ‘drop-in clinics.’
  • we are working with Plymouth University to organise a conference evaluating Dementia Friendly Communities, which will take place in January 2014.

Examples of good practice undertaken by PDAA partner organisations include:

  • Plymouth Raiders Basketball Team run a full page advert in every home match programme about dementia, which has helped raise the profile of dementia within the city and the team’s fan base of many thousands. Dementia awareness is also being integrated with the team’s ‘Health 4 Hoops’ education programme in schools.
  • Plymouth Citybus is running Dementia Friends Information Sessions for all drivers and customer service staff. The company has also introduced the ‘help me card’ scheme which is assisting people with a dementia to travel with more independence and confidence.
  • Focus Oral Health CIC have introduced training modules in ‘dental health and dementia’ within non-clinical settings (e.g. care homes).
  • Devonport Naval Base has revised its HR policies to support carers and people living with dementia. This includes offering flexible working hours and a support service for carers. Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team Plymouth is integrating dementia awareness into their training.
  • The Land Registry will be running Dementia Friends Awareness Sessions in Plymouth and its other 15 regional offices as part of its ‘Ageing Workforce’ training programme from October 2013.
  • Dartmoor Search & Rescue Team Plymouth is integrating dementia awareness into their training and is investing in new search technology to help quickly locate people with a dementia in a search and rescue situation.

Progress update

We are rolling out the library health work accross all 17 of our libraries and there will be a permanent post of ‘health librarian’ created to take the work forward

We anticipate that more schools will take up the dementia work that has been demonstrated to be so successful in our pilot school

We have already trained around 40 Dementia Champions across the city and this number will increase later in the year, who will be able to deliver Dementia Friends training. Key staff in the Council such as the Health Librarian will become Dementia Champions enabling us to offer Dementia Friends training to members of the public as well as Council staff.

The Befriending Service will continue to develop with mainstream Council funding and has increased targets for each of the next two years.

The Council will continue to support and embed the Dementia Friendly City programme in its work. The Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance will work towards being self-sustaining as part of this. For example, by developing ‘Dementia Friendly’ tools that can be used by organisations to implement actions and measure progress themselves and a PDAA website that members can update