Meet the Team
Today is World Alzheimer’s Day and we would like you to meet Helen Clegg who leads the Dementia Friendly Communities Project at Community360
How long have you been working for Community360?
I have been working at Community360 for two years now.
Tell us about your role?
My role is essentially to support organisations in Colchester to become more dementia-friendly, where people living with dementia and their carers feel confident knowing they can live their lives with access to the services and support they need to fully participate in community life.
Tell us more about your work on the Dementia Friendly Communities Project
I essentially wear two hats! I am Chair of the Colchester Dementia Friendly Community (DFC) and lead the project implemented by Colchester City Council and Community360, to make the Borough a more dementia aware community.
The DFC was started some years ago by the Alzheimer’s Society and there are DFCs across the country. The overarching aim of Colchester DFC is to support organisations to become more dementia friendly. I also manage the Place-Based Social Action project (PBSA), and dementia is at the heart of this project.
There are four themes to this project – first, reflection, to understand how dementia affects people, second, raising awareness of dementia by training employees in DFC member organisations, third, bringing people with dementia and their carers together at dementia cafes and dementia-friendly coffee mornings to reduce social isolation, and fourth, prevention. While dementia cannot be prevented, there are 12 potentially modifiable risk factors for prevention, highlighted in The Lancet Commission report. I am very keen to push out this message as it’s so important for everyone to know about the risk factors.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The biggest reward for me and the thing I enjoy most is being able to make a difference to people’s lives.
What sort of feedback do you get from the people and groups who use the Dementia Cafes?
Participants who come along to the Abbey Field dementia café have said how much they enjoy the café. For example, a gentleman recently walked into our One Colchester Community Hub to say how much he had enjoyed his first visit to the dementia café. He said it was brilliant and was looking forward to coming along again.
What are your plans for the future? What projects are currently in the pipeline?
We’d like to start a singing group at the Abbey Field dementia café but need a volunteer guitar player/singer. So, if anyone reading this has the requisite skills and can volunteer a couple of hours a month, do contact me!
If you are a business and would like help to make your organisation more dementia friendly, please get in touch,
01206 505250 or email email@example.com (please mark any emails Colchester Dementia Friendly Community in the subject heading).
If you would like to find out more about our Dementia Cafés please click on the link below
You can watch a short film here on the 12 modifiable risk factors of dementia.