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Reflection on Cornwall Dementia Conference and VCSE participation

Sarah Phillips, Engagement Officer
Sarah Phillips
23 May 2024

On Friday 17 May, Cornwall’s 3rd dementia conference took place in Wadebridge as part of Dementia Action Week. The emphasis of this year’s conference was living well with dementia and supporting carers.

Cornwall VSF welcomed the opportunity to contribute funding and support for event organisers, the Dementia Partnership Board which enabled the VCSE sector to learn, network and further promote their services ensuring quality of life for those with dementia and their carers.

I have reflected on the week, which highlighted the amazing work our VCSE colleagues are doing to support those with dementia and their families/carers here in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly.

Here in Cornwall I am proud of the way we have worked collaboratively with the VCSE sector, Cornwall Council and most importantly with people with first-hand experience of dementia to develop our Dementia strategy.

Photo of Kate Shields, Chief Executive

The importance of quality of life ran through this year’s theme on living well with dementia and supporting carers. Professor Sube Banerje led with highlighting a focus on the things we can do that make a difference to improve someone’s quality of life.

Ensuring quality of life and what matters to you, is at the heart of what VCSE colleagues do. We heard presentations from the newly formed partnership of the Dementia Community support programme. This pilot is a collaboration between Memory Matters, Disability Cornwall, Alzheimer’s Society and Cornwall NHS Foundation Trust, with the shared goal of offering tailored and timely assistance to people with a formal diagnosis.

This pilot has been commissioned/funded by the NHS locally and strengthens partnership working across the health and care system.

The conference also provided an opportunity to hear from Filo – a charity fairly new to Cornwall who shared the background and ongoing success of offering small group care days for people with early to moderate dementia. These are provided in hosts homes.

Many more VCSE orgs had the opportunity in the stand pop up area to promote and share details on their services/support and include Age UK Cornwall, Arts Well, Music for Good, TalkmoreCornwall, and Sensory Trust  Even more VCSE colleagues were in attendance as part of the 176 people in the room plus many more watching the live streaming via Chaos.

I was delighted to meet Talkmore Cornwall for the first time and learn more about Makaton the language programme to facilitate communication and its use in dementia.  In true VSF style, I started thinking of all the other VCSE orgs I wanted to connect them to, as its relevance to those working in early years and with families.

A quote from an attendee in the post conference evaluation sums up nicely how I also felt participating in the lead up to the conference and on the day…a sense of community, connected and supporting each other …..

Very inclusive, friendly feel to it and great combination of speakers and organisations. Really useful as a practitioner and for those with dementia and carers”.

Photo of Dementia Conference attendee
Dementia Conference attendee