Items of Interest

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Dementia Awareness (Parish Magazine December)


From the very beginning of the project back in 2009, I have been continuously amazed and grateful for so many in and around Debenham who give their time and money towards raising the ongoing funding of The Debenham Project. In the vast majority of these cases local people or organisations spontaneously decide to put on an event or activity and the first I hear of it is when they ring me and ask whether “it would be ok if they donated the proceeds to us”! Or sometimes they just appear with a cheque or cash saying “please take this to help with your work”! As you can imagine I am always delighted. It is not only for the financial support that I am so grateful, but also because it lifts the burden of spending lots of our time fundraising. I am also reminded of how the Project actually belongs to everyone in the community, and how much the work of the Project is appreciated.

Here are just two examples: Firstly, I want to thank Sarah, Nicola, Jean, and everyone at the URC for their great Coffee Morning and Soup Lunch event which raised £392 – lovely people, lovely occasion, and lovely atmosphere. Secondly, Louise, Ann, Claire and the team who have organized “Debenham Project” Christmas cards to sell at the Debenham Christmas Festival on the 6th , and at Abbotts, Spiral and Websters – please support them.

December is a very busy month for us all and the Project is no exception. Every year all our groups - CAMEO, Fit Club, Lunch Clubs, Carers Club, info Café, etc. - each organise a special festive event. And, once more we will be welcoming our very own “Music Man”, Steve McKie to entertain us in Dove Cottage for the Carers Club Christmas Party.

Finally, thank you for all your donations and support throughout the year. Please remember that we can receive donations via the Co-op (just ask for your dividend to be given to 609313) and on-line using the button on the home page of our website (below). Also don’t forget, we have wheelchairs for loan if you need one for a few days.

With all my best wishes for a very Happy Christmas,


Assessing the value of The Debenham Project

Although we know that The Debenham Project is significantly helping those who are finding it difficult to live with the impact of dementia on their lives, the hard economics governing the NHS, the Local Authorities, and the Government demand statistical evidence that  our efforts are "cost effective". Also, The Charity Commission requires us, each year to show that we have delivered a social benefit commensurate to our charitable status. The following "Impact Statement" and "Case Study" were produced to demonstrate the achievement, quality, and effectiveness of the Project.

Impact Statement                    Case Study

How good is the provision of health and social care in and around Debenham?

Early this year the trustees considered what they might do to celebrate our 10th anniversary of the Project. They agreed that the Project should sponsor something special that would significantly benefit those in our community who are struggling to cope with the impact of dementia, and also the many other chronic illnesses of our elderly and frail residents. We are constantly bombarded with national statistics about the problems in the NHS and the Social Services, the lack of community support services, and the need for change. However, it is generally impossible to relate these figures to our own community. What is our everyday situation? How do we compare with the "national average"? What are our strengths and where are our  weaknesses? To seek answers to these questions The Debenham project has initiated a unique research project seeking to establish/measure/characterise the provision, availability, cost, and quality of health and social care for the elderly frail in our community. The University of Suffolk will be working with NHS Suffolk, Public Health, and Suffolk Social services to provide the answers. We believe that this study will not only provide us with facts to argue for local investment in our health and care services, but also to show how important it is for all Suffolk communities to review, understand and speak out about their local health and care services.

Evaluating Health and Social Care Provision - Summary of Benefits         

Evaluating Health and Social Care Provision

Dementia Adventure - Respite holidays and Activities

Dementia Adventure is committed to "Enabling people living with dementia to get outdoors, connect with nature, themselves and their community, and retain a sense of adventure in their lives." You can visit their website here

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