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Dementia Awareness (Parish Magazine July 2018)


Hello everyone,

By the time you read this we shall have so very much enjoyed The Debenham Project Garden Party, and I am thinking about how wonderful this event has become over the years. It exists only through the great generosity of Lyn and Mike Rouse, and is the one occasion each year when everyone – carers, those they care for, volunteers, donors and other participants in the project came together as a “family” in a beautiful garden just to enjoy the company, the entertainment, and the luscious buffet afternoon tea. It also gave me the chance, on behalf of the trustees, to thank everyone for all they have done in achieving yet another successful year.

However, my thoughts also turned to asking the question: What is it that makes The Debenham Project not only special for us, but also identifies it as special across Suffolk, regionally and even nationally? It would be easy to see the project as simply a set of regular support activities and services, but it is much more than that. It seems to “belong” and to have become “owned” by the community – everyone has a stake in it and I hope feels able to turn to it, if and when, they need some help. But it is also, in part, due to the way the project is seen by someone who may not have connected with it but may have seen a poster, read our brochure, accessed our website, taken a leaflet, or just noticed our logo i.e. the way those who might need our support know we are there for them and how to get into contact.  In the business world this is the “image”/”identity”/”brand” of an organisation. It is not an easy thing to define but broadly it is how we seek to communicate, visually and in words, “what we are, who we are, what we do, what we offer, and what we believe in”. Marketing gurus charge a fortune to create an identity eg Ronseal – “It does what it says on the tin”. We couldn’t go down that path, but in the beginning some very talented volunteers set to and produced what carers and professionals alike have described as simple, straightforward, comprehensive, and above all directly in tune with the needs of the users. I cannot tell you how many compliments I have received over the years.

However, after 9 years, things have moved on. So we have been taking a new look to see how we can make it even better. We are retaining the best – our logo has become almost iconic – but also uplifting and enhancing other elements to reflect brightness, positivity and liveliness. For example, I hope you will have noticed our new poster. Also, we launched a redesigned 4th edition of our brochure at the Garden party. The next phase is to redesign the website whilst also revising our leaflets to be visually eye-catching. It will take some time but, since we intend to be around for at least the next decade, we believe greatly worthwhile. Very many thanks to Richard Blackwell and his team, and especially to Sarah Carruthers.

To finish I want to thank the family and friends of Jock Fuller for their generous donation in his memory, and to welcome both Megan Kingston (River Green Café) to our great baking team, and Simon Hoets to our brilliant volunteer drivers. And a reminder that we will relaunching our pop-up department store for the Village Yard Sale later this month – look for it at the bottom of Gracechurch Street.

With best wishes, Lynden


Way Back When Reminiscence group launched

The first of our monthly 'Way Back When' reminiscence afternoons was held on April 12th and was very successful. Everyone enjoyed chatting about past times lubricated by a cup of tea and a piece of cake, and all brought to mind by our collection of vintage photos and objects from the 40s, 50s, and 60s. The next session is on May 10th in Dove Cottage from 2pm. Please come along and help us to make it into a regular event filled with lots of laughter and, perhaps, some of the spicy tales of Debenham Way Back When. Please notice that these get-togethers are for everyone, family carers who need a bit of relaxation, those who have difficulty remembering what they did yesterday but who can share their stories of earlier times in amazing detail, and those who just enjoy a friendly trip down memory lane. It would be wonderful to welcome you, feel free to bring along something of interest from home but, most of all, bring your memories. Click here to find out about all our activities and groups

The Debenham Project goes to Wales and Wales comes to Debenham

Earlier in 2016 we were asked if we would share our experiences with active community groups, professionals and decision makers in Wales.  This was in connection with a Welsh Government initiative to improve post-diagnosis dementia support and community- based activities and services for the elderly and frail generally.  As a result Paddy and I participated in an event in Porthcawl, a team from the government came here to make a video contribution presenting 3 leading initiatives, the publication of an insight into The Debenham Project ("The Four Mile Rule"), and a number of opportunities for community groups in Wales to consult us by telephone and e-mail. Click here to watch the video (The Debenham Project is the second project that is featured).

The Vision Of Caring: A PowerPoint slide presentation - "A Community Tackling the Crisis of our Ageing Population"

The presentation is available here

The Debenham Project: a PowerPoint slide presentation - "Debenham - A Dementia Friendly Community"

The presentation is available here


The Project "Charitree": a few photos of an advent display in St. Mary's Church entitled " What the Debenham Project means to us" created by participants in the project. An unusual and unique user evaluation.

The Debenham Project - A briefing with recent highlights.

It is now just over 8 years since the public meeting took place which was pivotal in the way that Debenham and its surrounding villages are addressing the challenges of their ageing population. This paper briefly describes The Debenham Project and highlights it's recent developments and achievements. The reader will find more detail in the newsletters and Parish Magazine articles archived elsewhere on the website.

Download the paper

Putting it all together - The Vision of Caring -  A Description.

This paper presents the results of a 4 year study addressing the provision of health, social care and housing for the elderly-frail members of a typical large rural community in Suffolk. It argues that the current structures of the NHS and Social Services are not suited to coping with the challenge of providing quality care in the long term and that innovative solutions must be explored. As a result of this research one such approach has been identified - “The Vision of Caring” - which is predicted to not only deliver a quantum step improvement in overall care, but also to achieve economic savings in the region of 8 to 10% per annum. It is suggested that without a new structure for the care of the elderly-frail the NHS and Social Services will become overwhelmed irrespective of any increased commitments to funding them. It is believed that the “Vision” offers a new direction in the provision of care which both matches the aspirations and needs of an ageing rural population, and is also affordable.

Download the paper

The Debenham Project: Carers’ experiences in rural Suffolk

Between July 2012 and August 2013, the authors carried out an independent in–depth research project in partnership with the Debenham Project in Suffolk. They were trying to capture the experiences of carers of people living with dementia within a single community and to investigate what encourages or discourages families to seek early diagnosis and support. As far as we know, this is the first time that a particular local community has been the subject of such an in-depth analysis. The findings continue to be totally relevant today.

Download the paper published in The Journal of Dementia Care

Dementia Friendly Communities - A report prepared for the North-East Dementia Alliance

Download this report that mentions The Debenham Project on page 80

Harvest through the Ages

At the beginning of October, we had a very special event – “Harvest through the Ages”. It was a 2 day exhibition of the most wonderful scale models of farming wagons, carts, and tools, which was combined with a magnificent harvest flower display, and displays of “Olden Foods” and locally made traditional walking sticks. Over the 2 days we had more than 500 visitors from across Suffolk. So many thanks to everyone who helped create it, steward it, provide refreshments, publicise it, and everything else. Of course the exceptional weather made all the difference. Our aim was to celebrate harvest and display one of our carer’s (Nic Cass) models for one last time before we try to find them a home in a museum. We did not set out to make it a fundraising exercise so all we did was to put out a basket for donations to Dove Cottage and the project. Imagine our delight when upon tipping the money out we found that it amounted to almost exactly £500 which when added to the donations for refreshments organized by the church and the W.I. gave a grand total of £590.

Good News

Debenham Project has won the Probert Trophy which is awarded annually by Suffolk ACRE (Action for Communities in Rural England) for the best community achievement in Suffolk. It was presented to us at their AGM today. It is all down to the great goodwill, support and efforts of everyone involved. So congratulations and thank you indeed.

On this YouTube link is the long version of the nominations film for the Suffolk ACRE Probert Award and Campbell Cup

There is also a video of the award presentation and podcasts of the seminars and AGM here

Ipswich Town Football Memories

Debenham On Call and Carers Co-op

Update on Research Project

Breaking the Mould

View video on dementia from Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. Click here to visit their website

Video with subtitles for the hard of hearing

speaker clipart gifListen to interview with Lynden Jackson on Radio Suffolk 19th July 2010

Flexicare Handbook

Overview of The Debenham Project (October 2009)

Debenham Project Presentation (You will neede a Powerpoint Reader to open this file)

Prevalence and Growth of Dementia in the Debenham Area (July 2009)

Volunteer Task Areas (October 2009)

Executive Summary of the Debenham Project (July 2009)

Living Well with Dementia (A Suffolk Strategy) (2009)

Living Well with Dementia (A National Strategy) (2009)

Dementia UK (Report published by the Alzheimer’s Society (2007)

speaker clipart gif Listen to interview with Dr Paddy Fielder broadcast on Radio Suffolk 16th June 2009