Category Archives: Uncategorized

Volunteering with Dementia Friendly Leeds

By Caroline Turner, Dementia Friendly Leeds Admin Assistant

It’s hard to believe that it has been a year now since I first started volunteering for Dementia Friendly Leeds as an Admin assistant.  After retiring 3 years’ ago I wanted to step out of my “comfort zone” of 30+ years (office, spreadsheets etc.) and do something that directly helped people, and connected with them.

Having become a carer for my (still fairly independent) 87-year old mother over the years, I felt I had a bit of understanding of the challenges of later life, so I got in contact with Age UK.

The Role

I took on a role with their Information and Advice service, visiting older people in their homes and helping them apply for Attendance Allowance (a daunting 32-page form!), as well as giving other benefits help.  In the course of these visits I meet a huge variety of wonderful people, most of them living with physical and/or mental difficulties, often with little or no help.

I have become more aware of the impact of dementia on daily life, but also how much people living with dementia could still contribute.  For example, I met a couple where one partner was living with physical disabilities and the other with early stage dementia, each of them supporting the other, with one person’s weakness being the other’s strength.

Something Was Missing

Perhaps the only drawback was that I found I was missing the social parts of being in an office.  In addition to carrying on the one-to-one volunteer work at Age UK, I decided to seek out an additional, more office-based role in the same general area.

I saw the vacancy with Dementia Friendly Leeds advertised online, and began working a half day a week at the Leeds Older People’s Forum office, where staff from Time to Shine and Volition are also based. It has been a very enjoyable and interesting experience, in one of the nicest offices I have ever come across!

The Challenge

The main challenge for me has been becoming familiar with the work of Dementia Friendly Leeds and the variety of different organisations it works with, as well as gaining an understanding of the challenges facing those living with dementia.  Putting together the e-newsletter has really helped with this, and I have been amazed at the number and variety of initiatives that are going on in our city.

I have helped out at a Dementia Cafes event, where I met some of the people involved, and I have also attended a DEEP group, meeting some of those directly affected by dementia, and hearing their experiences.

The DEEP Group
Nancy, Peter and Marlene who are all members of the DEEP Group


At the DEEP group I was particularly struck by how many people attended, all at different stages of dementia, even when getting there was quite difficult for them.  It made me realise that dementia affects different people in different ways.  One lady living with dementia was very articulate and contributed frequently, even if occasionally repeating herself.

Changing my Perception of Dementia

Working at Dementia Friendly Leeds has certainly changed my perception of dementia.  I remember attending a Dementia Friends session and understanding for the first time how dementia affects someone emotionally as well memory-wise.

Realising that a person’s emotions persist even as their memories are disappearing, made me resolve to never treat a person with dementia any differently, just because they no longer know my name or what our relationship is.

I have recently been both moved by and full of admiration for Wendy Mitchell, who is living with early onset dementia, but has been able to write an online blog for the last three years.  Her book, “Somebody I used to know”,  based on this blog is due to be published soon, and is being serialised on Radio 4.

My Advice

If I have any advice for others looking to do voluntary work after retirement, it would be to go for what interests you, but be prepared to end up doing something completely different from what you imagined! And because every volunteer role is different, you might find that you want to take on two.

Making a difference with Dementia

By Sarah Goodyear, Dementia Friendly Leeds Campaign Manager

‘See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination’.
– Ralph Marston

Dementia can bring stereotypes. Many people have preconceptions about what a person with dementia can and can’t do. You can’t work, you can’t go out alone, you can’t do new things. Yet I know a group of people who might surprise you.

In Leeds we have a ‘DEEP group’. No, it’s not about discussing really deep topics. It stands for ‘Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project’. It aims to empower people with dementia to increase awareness and services locally.

Our local Leeds group is called ‘Up and Go’. Our group members live with dementia and give guidance to businesses and services in Leeds. They also raise more positive awareness about living with dementia.

“I will forget today, but that doesn’t mean that today doesn’t matter”
– Lisa Genova, Still Alice

On 16th October 2017, four members of ‘Up and Go’ DEEP group and our Dementia Friendly Volunteer, Rebecca, took part in the student ‘Tech Challenge’. This challenge is run by Premier Farnell in partnership with Leeds Beckett University and Ahead Partnership.

It brings together students from colleges and schools across Yorkshire. They design and create innovative technology for people living with a condition.

The students are encouraged to talk to a group of people living with the condition chosen for that challenge. This year, the condition was dementia.

“I’ve got lots of ideas for the students. I’ve been writing them down”
– Marlene (DEEP member)

We arrived at Leeds Beckett at 10am and were led into a lovely, grand room and given a lovely, grand cuppa. We then split into two groups to talk to students about dementia throughout the day.

The students asked our member’s for their own experiences of dementia. The students also received feedback on their technology ideas. Below are some of the insightful questions and answers we had throughout the day.

How does dementia affect you?
  • Marlene: I forget to put oven gloves and burn myself. I also can’t judge how full liquid is in a regular cup – coloured cups are easier. Black mats are also difficult, they look like holes.
  • Bob: Me too, black mats are difficult. I poke them with my stick to check sometimes! I can get lost too. I know Leeds like the back of my hand, but sometimes it just goes and I don’t know the name of where I’m going. Have to keep calm when it happens, as stress makes it worse.
Do you have any coping strategies?
  • Marlene: I have a memory dog, she helps me a lot. I also leave things together. So a warm coat is always with the dog lead to help me remember it.
  • Bob: I leave notes for myself in doorways so I know I’ll look at them. I write them the night before and I write the date. Even though I won’t remember the date later on, I feel better if I know the date first thing in the morning.
What do you think to the idea of a light sensor for the oven Marlene? Or an app on your phone to track where you’ve come from Bob?
  • Marlene: Yes that sounds useful. Something to get my attention – I only have a small sticker on there at the moment and it’s easy to miss.
  • Bob: Yes that would be helpful to get back to a place, or for a regular trip.
How has your life changed since diagnosis?
  • Bob: When I was first diagnosed many years ago I thought that was it. But then I joined the dementia peer support network and it was the best thing I could have done. I’ve got good friendships with people I would never have met otherwise. I’ve started painting which I really enjoy. I lead a happy life.
  • Marlene: I don’t feel that different really, I’ve just carried on as normal. Stayed independent. I deliver dementia friends sessions, I go to talks and meetings. I go out with the dog. Just normal things. Because I’m still me.
 “We’ve really enjoyed today. Nice to think you might make a difference”

Peter and Nancy (DEEP members): It was wonderful to see the two generations working together to create new technology. But it was also wonderful to see the new understanding the students left with.

I saw the look of surprise on some students faces when they realised how active, independent and tech-savvy people with dementia can be. Of course, not all people with dementia do use technology, but some do. Avoiding any assumptions about dementia is vital.

“Thank you very much for your time”

Student: One of my favourite moments of the day was when a student group were leaving for lunch, and Bob reached out to shake a student’s hand. The student thanked him for his time. It was a lovely moment of connection and mutual respect.

I left even more aware of how dementia affects each person very differently. One person might have challenges with how they see things. Others may have challenges with navigating, or with language use.

Dementia can be very challenging. But it is a condition. It is part of a person, that’s all. People with dementia are still unique people. And all people, whether old, young, and living with dementia or not, have the ability to do remarkable things.

We are all really looking forward to seeing the technology the students come up with in the final competition next week.

 Useful Links

Language Use – A handy guide on what language to use when describing dementia

Environment Guide – Giving tips on how to make a building or space more accessible

Dementia Diaries – Hear people with dementia’s voices and opinions from across the UK website with more resources and support in becoming more dementia friendly in Leeds

Help Needed: Can you spare 5 minutes to help Leeds University student design revolutionary new plant watering device?

University of Leeds student Annalise Hughes is developing the first watering can reminder system, which prompts the user to water their plants when the soil becomes too dry.

There are numerous apps and small indicators on the market to remind people to water their plants but these reminder alerts can easily be ignored.

The product is primarily designed to help people with dementia but is suitable for a much larger audience, reminding users to water their plants regularly, encouraging them to get outside and interact with their plants which research proves can be extremely therapeutic.

How it works

This product idea comes in 2 parts, a plant pot which monitors the moisture of the soil, a watering can and a stand for the watering can, which plugs into a household socket.

When the soil is getting too dry the user is reminded to water the plants, and both the pot and watering can will light up to show the user which pot needs watering.

Once the soil is less dry the lights turn off and the watering can, can be places back on its stand.

How you can help

Annalise would love to hear your thoughts and feedback about her design, complete her very short online survey at:

Or to receive an email version of the survey you can email her at

Intergenerational work back on the LOPF agenda

Back in September LOPF spoke about our plans to do an update of our report Generations Together which we produced in 2013. This updated version will only be available online.

We asked organisations for examples of inter-generational work they were doing in Leeds that could be featured in the report.

We had hoped to have a draft done by the end of 2016 but due to a change in circumstances at Forum Central we had to out the report on the ‘back burner’.

Ready to go
We are now ready to start work on this report and so once again we are asking for organisation who have done inter-generational work to come forward so that we can highlight and promote what is being done in Leeds to bring generations together.

What we are looking for
We are looking for organisations from the third, statutory or private sector who are willing to be involved with this project and who want to tell everyone about the inter-generational work they do and the benefits it brings to everyone involved (young & old alike).

A city for all ages
We are really keen to promote Leeds as a ‘city for all ages’ and demonstrate how good it is to bring young and old people together and how it can break down barriers, assumptions and stereotypes and make the different generations realise how much they have in common.

Next steps
We hope to get enough interest to start work and the publication will be a similar format to the original version a copy of which you can download at to give yourself an idea of what it is we are looking for.

If you have a project or scheme that you would like to be considered please contact Sean Tunnicliffe by email or ring (0113) 244 1697

Download the flyer for more info

New groups mark a new phase for Resilient not Reliant

Three free brand new groups are being set up to serve people aged 50+ in the North Leeds area. The aim of tackling loneliness and raising awareness of alcohol and its effects while enjoying new skills and social activities are being aimed at younger older adults.

Rebels With A Cause

An exciting initiative Rebels With A Cause aims to meet fortnightly and explore music and films of the 60s, 70s and 80s.

The first meeting on 26thJanuary will show some short films and will encourage people to help set the programme for the first 3 months. Anyone over 50 in the North CCG area of leeds is very welcome to attend, enjoy and contribute to this user led group.

New papercraft group

An ideal opportunity for people to make greetings cards and get to know others with similar interests is the Papercraft Group. This will run for a 6 week trial period at The Meanwood Community Centre, weekly on Wednesdays from 1st February – 15th March (except 15th February)  10am-12noon.

Drawing class for beginners

East Street Arts are providing an 8 week drawing class for beginners through to people wanting to brush up their skills. Taking place at the Royal Voluntary Service Offices on Potternewton Lane, the course will run every Thursday from 2nd February to 30th March (except 16th February) 1pm-3pm

Service manager Sian Johnson said:

“we are delighted to start these new groups in the North of Leeds which has been made possible by the funders North CCG and Leeds Community Foundation extending the age range from 60+ to 50+ and also encompassing the whole North CCG area”.

This will really help with the alcohol awareness prevention agenda of the project which in addition to alcohol training, advice and guidance for public and professionals, also offers support for people to get into new social activities, special interest groups and routes into volunteering as happier, healthier alternatives that tackle harmful drinking and strengthen communities.

More information

For more information and to book places, please contact Sian Johnson (0113) 873 598 or 07876 585 931 or email

Resilient not Reliant

In addition to working with people aged 50+ RnR also works with employers, attends information events and presents fun but factual alcohol awareness sessions to team meetings, social groups and other such gatherings across the North CCG area. Contact Sian for more details.

New reps opportunities on the Leeds Provider Network

Third sector representative on the Leeds Provider Network

An opportunity has come up to be the Rep and the Deputy Rep for the third sector place on the Leeds Provider Network.

Leeds Provider Network

The Health and Social Care Provider Network has been established following publication of the NHS Five Year Forward View.  The purpose of the Network is to consider how local provider organisations respond to the proposals of the Five Year Forward View, working closely with other partners/key stakeholders.

Members represent: Local Medical Committee, Third Sector, GP Provider representatives from across each of the Clinical Commissioning Group footprints, Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust and Leeds Adult Social Care

Chair of the Network

The Chair of the Network is the Director, Leeds Adult Social Care. The Network reports to the Leeds Health and Care Partnership Executive Group.

This is the group of Chief Executives and accountable officers from each of the key organisations in Leeds that are going to try and make the changes needed in the health and social care system in the city.

They are: Leeds City Council (public health, adult social care and children’s services), Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust, the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (West; North; and South and East), Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust and Leeds Community Healthcare.


To attend the meetings and speak on behalf of the third sector, to be the link between the network and not for profit organisations.

Members are asked:

  • To understand the strategic context for health and social care in Leeds and the issues facing third sector organisations delivering health and social care outcomes in Leeds
  • To share good practice and evidence
  • Feedback and seek views from Forum Central membership

We are looking for one representative and one deputy.


  • Strategic thinking and decision making
  • Public speaking
  • Developing strategic relationships and partnership working for the third sector

 Time commitment

 Attend six-weekly meetings

  • Attend regular Forum Central Leadership network
  • Meet regularly for ongoing support from the Forum Central team
  • Reading time

 Support to the role

The role will be supported by the Forum Central team who will provide:

  • Knowledge, information and advice about third sector health and social care activities in Leeds
  • Links and introductions to Forum Central membership and wider partnerships
  • Secretariat and administrative support
  • Briefings before meetings and on key issues
  • Induction which will address any training and development needs


To be eligible, applicants should be a Chief Executive, a Chair, a Trustee or in a senior management position, of an organisation that belongs to Forum Central membership or are members of Young Lives Leeds, delivering health and social care outcomes in Leeds. You must be available for the majority of the meeting dates (below).

Meetings take place Friday between 12 noon and 2 pm

 Friday, 28th October 2016, Friday, 9th December 2016, Friday, 20th January 2017, Friday, 10th March 2017, Friday, 21st April 2017.

Recruitment process

Interested parties are asked to express an interest by email, explaining what skills and experience you would bring to the role.

 Deadline: 5pm 16 September 2016

 For questions and to submit and expression of interest please contact: Rachel Cooper, Forum Central, Leeds Older People’s Forum, / 0113 244 1697.


Asset Based Community Development – Train the trainer opportunity

leeds city ouncil logo

The Leeds City Council (LCC) Asset Based Approaches group are looking at ways of supporting the wider rollout of asset based community development (ABCD) in Leeds and have some external funding to support the running of a train the trainer programme on ABCD with the aim of developing a bank of practitioners in Leeds who can then support partners to support asset based approaches in neighbourhoods.

When does the training start?

The training programme will start next month with an introductory session on 12th September and LCC are looking for people with the skills outlined in the attached invite to nominate themselves for the training and support programme which will be delivered by Cormac Russell and an associate from Nurture Development will be delivering the programme (for those that don’t know Cormac is the UK expert on ABCD and someone LCC have previously worked with).

Do you think you have the right skills/aptitude/interest to get involved?

It is not limited to people in the council but LCC do ask that they live in Leeds.

The training is free so LCC are asking in return that people that are trained give back their time to deliver at least two ABCD training sessions to interested people/communities in Leeds over the next two years.


Anyone who is interested in the opportunity just needs to e-mail Emma Carter, Commissioning Manager – Enterprise Contracts & Business Development Commissioning Services, to confirm their interest – dates for the training sessions are in the attached invite.

You may also be interested in using the trainers once they have been through the programme so again, just let Emma Carter know.

Training Invite

Take a seat

By Sean Tunnicliffe, Communications Officer, Leeds Older People’s Forum

DSCF6957_BWLOPF received an email from Simon Peyton, Communications Manager at Anchor Housing earlier this week about a new campaign that Anchor is launching in autumn.

The campaign is called Standing Up for Sitting Down and it will call for will call for high streets and retailers to provide more seating for older people so they feel more inclined to use the high street.

Anchor says that this follows evidence that older people are currently unable to access their high streets and shopping centres as much as they’d like due to a lack of seating and resting areas.

Age Friendly

This is a subject which LOPF feels is important and one which also ties in with Leeds’ campaign achieve Age Friendly City status as adequate public seating isn’t just an issue for older people (and don’t get us started on adequate provision of public toilets).

Seating seems to have become something of an afterthought when it comes to designing modern shopping centres and I’m not sure when this happened (or why).

Past times

Maybe I’m just looking through rose tinted glasses but I’m sure that this never used to be the case, shopping centres and precincts always seemed to be designed with lots of seating in the past.

Council estates which had shops on them always had seats on the routes to the shops so people could rest going to and coming back from shopping. There were even shops which were happy to provide a seat for customers with tired feet.

These days in shopping centres seats are few and far between (and sometimes non-existent) and the public toilets are nearly always on the top floor. There also seems to be reluctance on the part on new shopping centres to take on the needs of older people.

Are you sitting comfortably?

This shouldn’t be seen as a simple case of more seating though but also of suitable seating; much public seating seems to have been designed with little thought given to comfort and support with no back rest or arm rests (some people need these to help get themselves up).

All too often Aesthetics seem to be more important than practicality with seating that looks nice but isn’t comfortable.  The seating at many bus shelters in particular seems to have been designed in order to actively discourage people from sitting on it.

Hopefully this new campaign will see improvements in public seating and encourage older people to get out to city & town centres and shopping centres. Independence is important to older people are no different.  Being able to go and do your own shopping and/or meet up with friends is something many people enjoy so why shouldn’t older people get to do it?

If you want to read more about the Standing Up for Sitting Down campaign you can download the letter we received here.



West Yorkshire Hate Crime Reporting App – Stop Hate UK

West Yorkshire Hate Crime Reporting App – Stop Hate UK

Stop Hate

Stop Hate UK is pleased to remind you of our Hate Crime Reporting App.  Its aim is to aid witnesses and those targeted because of their identity, throughout West Yorkshire, to report incidents of Hate Crime and be able to access information and advice about Hate Crime services.

Development of the App has been made possible by funding from the Police and Crime Commissioner of West Yorkshire, as part of the Supporting Victims of Hate Crime Fund.

Exciting New Service

This is an exciting new service giving West Yorkshire residents and visitors greater choice to report Hate Crime.  The new App complements our own helplines and other reporting channels and, by capturing images of incidents, can provide the additional evidence needed to successfully investigate incidents.

The information in the App about Hate Crime and other partner agencies within West Yorkshire will help people seek help as and when they are ready to do so – be that immediately after an incident or when they feel ready.

Download the App

The West Yorkshire Hate Crime Reporting App can be downloaded free of charge from the App store and Google Play by searching for ‘Stop Hate UK’.

Hate Crime AppPoster

Should you wish for any printed copies of the poster these can be obtained by emailing us at or by telephoning 0113 2935100.

Bramley Elderly Action Update

West Leeds Stroke Club

Bramley Elderly Action has published a new programme of activities for West Leeds Stroke Club, to run from August to December 2016.

The Stroke Club is a friendly fortnightly get-together for anyone in West Leeds who is recovering from a stroke. As well as taking part in a range of fun and therapeutic activities you can get information and support from people going through similar issues.

Sessions take place at Bramley Lawn (off Rossefield Approach, Bramley LS13 3RG) 10.30-12.30 on alternate Wednesdays and cost just £2.00 per session.

The new programme includes gardening, music, visits to a tea room and a museum, exercise, a Christmas meal and more!

Community fun day and Scooter rally!

Bramley Lawn’s first scooter rally for the original generation of mods and their younger scooter enthusiasts – Bramley Lawn will be welcoming people on mobility scooters, motorised scooters and children’s scooters for an obstacle course, crazy golf, games, competitions and a chance to mod-up your ride or trim your hair in the Bramley Lawn Barber Shop.  Sat 17th September.

Download the full programme of activities at Bramley Lawn (September-November) including Ukulele Club, Restaurant nights, Money Buddies and Bramley Grows.

Light Night

BEA and OWLS are joining up to encourage more older people in the city to take part in Light Night.

As part of our commitment to enabling older people to engage with more of the activities the city offers – members of Older Wiser Local Seniors in North West Leeds, and of Bramley Elderly Action in Bramley, Swinnow and parts of Stanningley – will take part in a guided walking tour of Light Night on Friday 7 October.