The partnership was contacted by local PCSOs offering to match fund (max £1000) an initiative to purchase and deliver gifts to people living with dementia.£1000 was raised, in equal shares of £250, from Congleton Lions, Rotary of Congleton, Plus Dane Housing and the Town Trust. £1000 was given by the Police Commissioner for care homes and people living alone with dementia. The money raised by the Partnership was for the benefit of all persons living at home, in Congleton, with dementia.
A project team was set up with volunteers and professionals working in this field. The first, and major, obstacle was establishing a list of recipients as, due to GDPR and patient confidentiality, GPs were unable to issue a list of patients living with dementia. Working with Lawton House surgery a scheme was drawn up whereby letters were sent inviting patients, flagged as having dementia , to ring a volunteer to apply for a gift pack.. During these calls an attempt was made to establish the interests of the patient (often with input from a family member or carer) and an idea of dementia progression so that packs could be partially customised. One size would definitely not fit all. Many of these calls took over 30 minutes as the caller wanted to talk.
|Other eg Bear Necessities, Chronicle and recommendations/word of mouth/social media
|Total gift packs distributed
|Recipients living alone
In addition, several calls were received to say ‘Thank you for the kind offer but the gift would not be appropriate due to the stage of dementia experienced. Anecdotally it is believed that many of the ‘no responses’ would be covered by this reason also the thought that it might be a scam..Press and social media were continued throughout the project from which came some comments that it was good to realise it was not a scam.
An initial order of products was ordered from the Alzheimers Society trading website and were given to people living with dementia, known to the project team members, to test for suitability.. Jigsaws were the most problematic as the number of pieces and subject matter had to be matched carefully to the recipients. This was compounded when the main order was submitted by sizes being out of stock.
Gifts were chosen from:
- memory cards linked to hobbies and times past
- scrapbooks to stimulate memories,
- aquapaints, colouring books, jigsaws,
- magnetic pictures helpful for those with Parkinsons or arthritis,
- cards, board and group games (care homes)
From the suggestions of the project team members, many free items were added to the packs.:
Age UK Monthly Activity Leaflets – 20+ pages with the opportunity to arrange future editions free of charge
The latest Scams Awareness bulletin from Age UK
Various puzzle books from Tesco’s and Morrisons
Vintage copies of the Sporting Pink newspaper
Music CDs from u3a music groups
A popper wallet was enclosed in each pack containing the following::-
- The Herbert protocol ( a police document recommended for completion in case of wandering)
- Details of the Big Heart Luncheon Club (Old Saw Mill)
- The Dementia Buddy Scheme (backed by Congleton Lions)
- Old postcards from the museum (who also printed some of the enclosures)
- Guidance on making a memory box
- Details about Dementia Friendly Congleton and the activities we offered pre pandemic
- Details of the new music channel www.m4dradio.com offering free 24 hour music for dementia in which a decade can be chosen to stimulate memories.
A database was created showing name, address, contact details, family member or carer and interests eg Sports, Arts, Fashion, Jigsaws, word search etc. This enabled the packing day at the Police station for phase 1 to go smoothly. Packs were distributed by the community police officers.
For phase 2, which was smaller numbers, the packs were made up using the same methodology then distributed by Congleton Lions.
The spin-offs from this project are the many messages of thanks from recipients and their families. Several recipients have been put in touch with other agencies eg the Parkinson group, there-enablement team, the Old Saw Mill etc.
Over 80 people are now aware of the existence of Dementia Friendly Congleton and some are already enquiring when activities will re-start.
Financial summary – see appendix (attached)
|Diane R phase 1
|GP contact, PCSO and team meetings, taking calls , compiling database, ordering gift items, packing etc
|Diane R phase 2
|Receiving calls, entering preference on database, ordering items, packing and delivery
|Meetings, deliveries and packing
|Meetings, trials and admin
|Phone calls and packing
In addition time was donated by PCSOs (8 hours) police officers delivering gift packs, staff of Cheshire East and Congleton Town Council
|top up order 1
|Phase 2 packs
|top up order 2
|Care Homes balance
|Alzproducts out of stock
|3 Large 1st class
|GP postage costs
|71 invitations sent
|Care Home packs
|From police donation
|out of stock
|scentscape x 5
|on final order
|Tesco and Morrisons
|Books and old postcards
|U3a music groups
|Packing bags, logos etc
|Total gifts and costs
|Approx allocation of gifts and costs
|Care Homes 100% police
Nett of Care Homes*
*linked to recipients living alone