Funded by The Life Changes Trust and Stirling Council, Our Connected Neighbourhoods (OCN) is an dementia-enabling community development project. Evidence-informed, OCN is making its home at the University of Stirling’s faculty of social science and will be delivered through a consortium of partner organisations. Initially centred on Stirling, we plan to expand beyond the city into the Forth Valley by the third year.
At a wider level, Our Connected Neighbourhoods is the intervention stage of Neighbourhoods: Our People Our Places.
Our Connected Neighbourhoods would not be possible without the wonderful support of the following dedicated partners.
Alzheimer Scotland, Stirling Council, Macrobert Arts Centre, NHS Forth Valley, Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), Town Break, SSAFA Forth Valley, Memory Friendly Networks, SDS Forth Valley, Stirling Voluntary Enterprise (SVE) CESREC, Nordorf Robbins, Ideas for Ears, Stirling Libraries and CTSI.
The process and planned outcomes
Critically, OCN will be informed by people living with dementia through ongoing surveys, discussions and other co-production activity. Our ultimate goal is the development of solutions within -and for the benefit of -our participants’ own neighbourhoods. To ensure the project grows sustainably, the work is being divided into extensible strands.
The Community Strand is the starting point for neighbourhood surveys with the specific questions focused on discovering community assets. Who are the community leaders? What support already exists within a community? The surveys will collate any information that will assist developing connections, discovering people who might want to get involved and places that could host neighbourhood groups in the pilot area.
Focusing on the role of the physical environment in supporting dementia-inclusive communities, the Environment Strand will support people living with dementia to share experiences of their locality in order to provide them with a voice in shaping their neighbourhoods. The outcomes from this strand will be used to develop accessible resources designed to help support people living with dementia to participate in the civic, physical, and social aspects of their local community.
Moving to online environments, the Digital Strand will focus on the use of technology within the context of establishing a dementia-enabling community. This will include the direct use of digital technologies by project members and assessing how tech can support people living with dementia. In addition, we hope to establish a framework for the role that digital technology can play in supporting the implementation of dementia-enabling communities.
Are there barriers to people living with dementia getting involved with or attending creative events? The Arts and Inclusion Strand will consider how we work towards a ‘cultural offer’, with an emphasis on integrating people with dementia into existing cultural events and thinking about what that might involve, rather than setting up dementia-specific provision. Because our project includes the full life cycle of dementia we are focusing work on care homes and Artlink Central will be using creative approaches to look at how connected care homes are with their community. We are looking at the development of a care home audit tool that will focus on perceived and actual connectedness. This will audit staff attitudes and knowledge of connectedness, as well as what the residents feel is important.
The Graphics and Print Strand is leading our commitment to accessible information: this means high quality dementia-enabling literature. In consultation with dementia groups, we will roll-out dementia friendly branding for the project and develop a literature audit tool with accessible resources. This will be made available to organisations and services.
Finally, when it comes to assessing OCN’s impact, volunteer researchers and people living with dementia will influence the overall evaluation focus. The Engagement Education and Evaluation Strand will use a logic model and theory of change to gauge the effectiveness of the project. Our partner Alzheimer’s Scotland will assist with developing training for volunteer researchers and ‘pop up’ educational events.
As of May, 2018, Our Connected Neighbourhoods is in the process of recruiting project participants and volunteers in the Stirling and Forth Valley area to be community researchers. Over the coming months, the hands on work will being in earnest with outreach, a series of workshops and abroad survey of community assets. We will dive deeper into this work and the individual project strands in future articles. You can also follow us on Twitter at @InclusiveSFV.
Whilst we’ve got your attention …
The community researchers recruited for the project will have a real opportunity to shape the work. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in finding out more or volunteering with our exciting and innovative project then please get in contact with Dave Budd (face below), OCN’s Integration and Inclusion Coordinator. Read more about the researcher role via this link.
Dave Budd - Integration and Inclusion Coordinator
email Email: David.Budd@stir.ac.uk
phone Landline: 01786 467 795
phone_android Mobile: 07500 071 329