Halesworth dementia Carers’ Fund
(The Story So Far…2012 – 2017)
2012: The Fund is born.
Halesworth Carers’ Fund started in a small way, in mid 2012, with two people and a bank account. The purpose initially was simply to meet the costs of the Carers’ Group being run in Halesworth by Alison Begley of The Alzheimer’s Society.
However, it was clear that, while there was much good work going on in Halesworth, the support available to people living with dementia and their family carers was simply not meeting the needs. A report produced in July 2013 estimated the likely number of people affected by dementia in the town and surrounding area, and quoted the experience of overstretched carers, several of whom described themselves as ‘floundering’.
November 2012: Halesworth Dementia Support Project.
Together with The Alzheimer’s Society and Cutlers Hill Surgery, Halesworth Carers’ Fund decided to do something about this. In November 2012, a Carers’ Innovation Grant was applied for from Suffolk County Council to establish a dementia support project in Halesworth and the surrounding area. The application was successful.
2013: Halesworth Carers’ Fund.
From March 2013, Halesworth Carers’ Fund organized itself into an unincorporated association, established a management committee of five people, and adopted a constitution and set of books.
The fund was fortunate in having a very active group of Committee members: Paddy Cox, our Chairman; Tessa Harding, Secretary, Paddy Flegg, Publicity officer; David Prime, Treasurer; Nikki Sawkins, Community Liaison.
The Halesworth Carers’ Fund set out the following functions.
- As one of the trio of organisations steering the Halesworth Dementia Support Project it holds the purse strings on behalf of the project as a whole, and reports back to the givers of grants as required.
- To raise money through grant applications and through holding having stalls at local events such as the strawberry Tea, and receives donations from local people. Their generosity is really appreciated.
- It is a key link with the local community in the area. Through those links it can bring local views to bear on plans and decisions for future developments of the project.
- To offer help to people living with dementia, their carers and their families for transport and respite costs. Enquiries are welcome and are treated with absolute confidence.
- It aims to make Halesworth and the surrounding villages ‘dementia friendly’ places to be, so that people, businesses and services in the area are welcoming and understanding.
May 2013: Project Launch.
- The Halesworth Dementia Support Project had a very lively launch on 14th May 2013, in the Halesworth Library attended by over 40 people. The project has been the main focus of our work ever since.
- A grant of £15,600 was agreed for the first financial year and £15,800 for the second. In addition, Suffolk County Council offered us £2,000 over two years to meet respite costs so that family carers could attend meetings or just have a break.
- An independent evaluation was done during the year to strengthen our case for future funding and we were successful in obtaining funding for a further two years from April 2015.
2014: Friends of HCF, Change of Name, Logo Design.
During the early part of 2014, Dave and Jackie Rich, who had already contributed both energy and skills to the efforts of the Fund, joined the Committee as Co-cordinators of Friends of HCF. The initiative to recruit Friends of Halesworth Carers’ Fund was launched during 2014 to encourage more people to become involved and contribute both financially and with ideas to the work of the Fund. This is increasing in membership. Pick up an application form from any of our events or contact us. Please join us and become a ‘Friend’ of the Fund.
An initial meeting with local business people in February about how they can help to make people with dementia and their carers feel welcome was well attended, and more are planned to be held.
In November Halesworth Carers’ Fund altered its name slightly by adding the word ‘dementia’ so is now known as Halesworth dementia Carers’ Fund (HdCF) to reflect and distinguish its caring role.
HdCF has grown during the year and taken on a number of initiatives. As a growing organisation, steps have been taken to become established, developing the constitution and policies on issues like Equal Opportunities and the Protection of Vulnerable Adults.
We have been raising the profile of dementia in the area through regular publicity in local papers and attending local events, which lets people know what is going on and also helps to make thinking and talking about dementia an ordinary part of life. As part of raising our profile, Bungay High School was invited to hold a logo design competition. They did us proud and the shortlisted entries were displayed in the library window in Halesworth. From the winning entry of the elephant design by Cerys Roscoe and the runner up entry by Rianna Coote of her slogan ‘caring with dignity’, our logo was developed by Mustard Design. We aim to keep up our links with the school.
A Respite Care service has now been established, providing much needed ‘time out’ for family carers.
We have had great collaboration and support from other organisations in the town. Artlink, the Volunteer Centre, the Open Door project, Age UK, Halesworth Health, the League of Friends of Patrick Stead Hospital and other local organisations are valuable colleagues and collaborators.
We should particularly mention the CUT, which puts on a film Matinee for us once every two months. These have proved very popular. We have seen some remarkable films, such as “Quartet”, “Summer in February”, “About Time”, “Philomena”, “Saving Mr Banks” and “What We Did On Our Holiday”, some of which have had local connections. As well as raising money, these Matinees are the basis of a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and many people arrive early to enjoy tea and a spot of lunch and a raffle.
Towards a dementia friendly town:
Dementia is a demanding condition and one which often frightens people, but life can be made a lot easier if those around you are understanding and welcoming. We are working towards making Halesworth a ‘dementia friendly’ town. The Alzheimer’s Society recruits and trains Dementia Friends and local Dementia Champions. Halesworth dementia Carers’ Fund will continue working with them and others to make Halesworth and the surrounding area – our shops, our businesses, our services, our pubs and clubs, our transport system and so on – as ‘dementia friendly’ as possible. All your ideas and suggestions are welcome.
The Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance aims to establish ‘dementia hubs’ across the two Counties, so that anyone affected by dementia, wherever they live, will have somewhere to turn to. Halesworth Dementia Support Project is recognised as the hub for our area. We look forward to playing a part in this initiative.
Securing future funding:
However, the top priority for Halesworth dementia Carers’ Fund over the next year is clearly to secure continued funding for the Halesworth Dementia Support Project beyond April 2015. We are working with The Alzheimer’s Society and others to that end. With financial help from Suffolk Community Foundation, an independent evaluation of the Halesworth Dementia Support Project has been commissioned which is being undertaken by Sarah Housden, Senior Lecturer in Health and Social Care at University Campus Suffolk. This has greatly strengthened our case for future funding. Our ‘unique selling point’ is the three way partnership between Cutlers Hill surgery, The Alzheimer’s Society and ourselves: the GP practice, the specialist organisation with the appropriate expertise, and the voluntary organisation rooted in the local community. We believe that this is a cost effective model that will also be of interest to others.
2015: Securing Funding.
A successful application to the Henry Smith charity in February for funding for the project, and the generous support from the League of Friends of Patrick Stead Hospital, means the fund was secured for one day a week for another two years until April 2017.
As part of Halesworth Dementia Support Project, Dementia Friends training has been given to the GPs at Cutlers Hill surgery, members of the public, volunteers at Halesworth Museum and community drivers. 131 people have attended these sessions or accessed other information through the Project. Future activities include regular attendance at the Wenhaston Drop-in and coffee morning each month.
The Respite Care service one year on, has provided much needed ‘time out’ for family carers. During our first year 2014 – 2015 we provided 423 hours of care at a cost of £5,714. As we continue to identify those in the community who need help, this year, in 2015/2016, we have provided 1130 hours of care, at a cost of £15,258. The respite care we provide is flexible to meet the needs of individuals. Some family carers have regular weekly respite of up to 8 hours a week; others prefer to have a block of time to enable them to have a short break away from home. During this year we have provided care to 21 families in a variety of ways – regular respite, in a crisis, during transition into residential care and at the end of life.
Working with the Prestige Agency, we have established a team of paid carers who have additional training and skills in caring for those with dementia. Individualised care options are offered to the person with dementia so they too can benefit from the respite. An outing to Southwold for an ice-cream, a visit to the Men’s Shed, baking scones – this is all possible with our paid carers.
We have received a ‘Working Together Award’ from Suffolk County Council in recognition of our work with Prestige and other partners: Cutlers Hill Surgery, The Cut, The League of Friends of Patrick Stead Hospital.
Other activities include our very successful lunch outing in March to the Triple Plea for people with dementia and their family carers and ‘Caring with Confidence’ courses run in partnership with Suffolk Family Carers. All this is only possible with the grant support we receive, local support and fundraising in the community.
Raising awareness in the community:
HdCF has again been very busy with fundraising and events. During the year, we have held bi-monthly film matinees at the Cut, which attract a loyal audience. We have shown ‘The Second Best Marigold Hotel’, ‘A Royal Night Out’, ‘45 Years’, ‘Mr Holmes’, ‘The Lady in the Van’, ‘Brooklyn’ and ‘Dad’s Army’. These are well advertised throughout the town with attractive posters and the popularity of the occasion is enhanced by a good quality raffle. During December, as part of our local awareness program, we again decorated a Christmas tree in St Mary’s Church and had a stall at the Triple Plea Inn’s Christmas Market. St Peter’s Church Holton raised money through soup & bread lunches every Friday during Lent and in May we had stalls at the Cratfield Dog Show, the Table Top Sale in the Old Print works and at The Triple Plea’s Busker Music afternoon.
The full colour Trumpet newsletter has been produced approximately every quarter and this is delivered to Friends of HdCF with news and pictures from earlier events, along with a Volunteer sheet for future events.
During the year we have acquired display items, a pop-up banner, an events tent and now have for sale T-Shirts, Scarves, Caps and Ties, complete with our logo, along with badges for ‘Friends’ and ‘Caring with dignity’ logos. We place regular monthly articles in the local press and are now on Facebook, Twitter and have our own website at halesworthdementia-cf.com.
Grants and funding:
We have been the grateful beneficiaries of several grants over the course of the last year. The Respite Care service has been the beneficiary of several grants: from the League of Friends of Patrick Stead Hospital; from Health East Healthy Communities Fund; from Suffolk County Council and Suffolk Community Foundation Working Together Fund and finally from Suffolk County Council Carers’ Innovation Fund. The League of Friends of Patrick Stead Hospital has also funded an independent evaluation of the respite care service, which is currently being carried out by Dr Sarah Housden, Senior Lecturer in Nursing Sciences at the University of East Anglia.
2016: Increasing workload and CIO.
Not only has the respite we give dramatically increased in the community over the last year, but we also have increased the workload of the members of the committee. So, going into this year we are pleased to confirm that the committee members are re-standing and we have added new members.
Patrick Cox continues as President of HdCF, with Nikki Sawkins as Chairman and Community Liaison Lead. Tessa Harding remains as Secretary. David Prime has stepped down as Treasurer and we are pleased to welcome Mary Pennock in his place. Patricia Flegg ensures our profile is maintained through monthly reports to the local press. Dave and Jackie Rich are tireless in fundraising, in promoting our work at local events, in recruiting Friends of HdCF and producing the quarterly newsletter and the website. Councillor David Thomas brings important links with the Town Council and with businesses in the town. New members Jim and Teresa Fyfe bring years of experience to our respite care work and our latest member, David Blyth brings new perspectives from the arts.
The Committee has decided that HdCF should become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation and will seek the approval of the Charity Commission. We have also update our policies that govern our work.
The fund started the year with good news – two grants were secured and a private donation to make up the cost of maintaining the coverage of the Alzheimer’s Society workers for another year. Again the League of Fiends of Patrick Stead Hospital have graciously granted us funds to maintain the respite care.
Also the fund is now a Charity Incorporated Institution, number 1170477 – with all that this implies.
David Thomas has resigned from the committee and David Blyth has stepped back awhile due to other work pressures but we are pleased that Sally Cockrell has joined us. The main committee now consists of 7 Trustees, three committee members.
The family of ‘Friends’ has grown slightly to 77.
Our next AGM is on Wednesday 12th July.