Current Projects Crossword

Current projects



UK Meeting Centres

Please see further information about this project on the dedicated page here

Holdenhurst Community Link Worker Evaluation

ADS Holdenhurst

Holdenhurst in Heathfield, East Sussex is a newly built Abbeyfield enhanced sheltered housing scheme for people aged 60. The Community Link Worker (CLW) role has been developed to enable tenants to enjoy an enriched lifestyle, reduce the impact of loneliness and improve their well-being. Our study is funded by the Abbeyfield Research Foundation.

We are evaluating the role of the CLW role in the context of the Holdenhurst community. We want to:

  • Understand the key barriers, facilitators, successes, and challenges in setting up the CLW role and identify potential improvements going forwards.
  • Look at key outcomes valued by tenants and other stakeholders.
  • Find out the impacts of the CLW role on the lives of tenants particularly in relation to improved welfare and decreased loneliness.
  • Evaluate the impact of the CLW role on tenants and staff.
  • Determine broad costs and consequences on health and social care services.

Different methods will be used to collect information over a 2-year period. We will be doing a survey of Holdenhurst staff, commissioners, referrers and primary care practitioners to understand how these groups perceive the CLW role. In addition, the impact of the CLW on tenants will be evaluated at the start of the project then 12 months later using a set of outcome measures to capture information on tenants’ quality of life, resilience, health, participation and enjoyment of daily activities, mental wellbeing and loneliness. Economic feasibility will be assessed by examining associated running costs.

We will also be talking to tenants, senior team members and other key community stakeholders including commissioners, referrers and primary care practitioners, who have interacted with the CLW. Six case studies with tenants will be identified to look at the different perspectives and experiences. 

The CLW will keep a diary to capture everything that happens in the role including strategic and operational issues, key barriers and facilitators impacting the role, successes and challenges, key points in their interaction with tenants, staff and other stakeholders, and potential improvements to drive the development of the role.

Championing Physical Activity for People Affected by Dementia

 ADS sport course logos

This is an innovative project that developed and piloted an online short course to upskill practitioners from across social care, leisure and sport to deliver more physical activity opportunities for people affected by dementia.

The successful pilot course has now ended, and further iterations of the course have already been delivered. We will also be running the course again in the future, so please see this flyer for more information. You can also contact for more details about dates, costs and registration, or if would like to explore options for getting the course delivered for your organisation or group.

You can read more about the project here. A short video about the pilot course is also available here.

The project was funded by Active Herefordshire and Worcestershire and the Leisure Studies Association.


Supporting People Living with Dementia in Extra Care Housing (DemECH)

DemECH photo

The DemECH and NIHR logos

The Supporting People Living with Dementia in Extra Care Housing (DemECH) project is an 18-month study funded by NIHR School for Social Care Research. The project started in June 2021 and uses a mixed methods approach to explore how Extra Care Housing can help people to live well with dementia.

Please use the following links to find out more About the Project and About the Team.

You can also find out more About the Advisory Group.

Three booklets have been developed to provide key insights from this research project, and are aimed at different audiences:

In addition, an infographic and three short videos have also been produced to help share the findings in different formats. All of the resources can be found here.

Contact us

For more information on the DemECH project, contact us via 

Follow us on Twitter @DementiaStudies #DemECH #extracarehousing 

Housing 21, Housing LIN and Worcester County Council's Logos

This study/project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) School for Social Care Research 102645/ER/UWTA-P180. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Get Real with Meeting Centres: A realist evaluation of locally-driven social care for those affected by dementia

The Association for Dementia Studies was awarded funding for this two-year project by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB), Research for Social Care Programme. Commencing January 2021, this research is using a realist approach to gather together learning from three well-established Meeting Centres in Droitwich Spa, Leominster and Powys on how they have overcome challenges to keep going long term, beyond their initial start-up phase, in a climate where such initiatives are often forced to fold after only a short period.

A Meeting Centre is a local resource, operating out of ordinary community buildings, that offers on-going warm and friendly expert support to people with mild to moderate dementia and their  families. At the heart of the Meeting Centre is a social club where people meet to have fun, talk to others and get help that focusses on what they need. Meeting Centres are based on sound research evidence on what helps people to cope well in adjusting to living with the symptoms and changes that dementia brings.

This new research involving Meeting Centres aims to uncover the cause-and-effect factors at play – how context (background circumstances) can trigger mechanisms (processes within people and organisations) to produce desirable or undesirable outcomes that have a bearing on whether a Meeting Centre can keep going long term. It builds on an earlier realist review (SCI-Dem) which built a complex theory about this based on a review of the literature and stakeholder opinion. By learning more about the particular challenges facing the centres under study, we hope to develop better strategies to overcome those challenges – and to make recommendations to others across the UK.

The research is being conducted with collaborators from all three Meeting Centres, as well as the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health SciencesLondon School of Economics, the 3 Nations Dementia Working Group and Worcestershire County Council. The research will also include a Discrete Choice Experiment surveying the preferences of members of Meeting Centres across the UK, to learn what elements of Meeting Centres members most value, what they would or wouldn’t be willing to pay for, and how much, to get a clearer idea of the economic factors in running a Meeting Centre going forward.

It will also take into account the unprecedented challenges presented by COVID-19 restrictions, which have meant people have often not been able to meet physically (maintaining support and social connection in other ways via the Meeting Centre network) or have had to meet in reduced numbers under restricted conditions.

The Get Real project was funded as part of the NIHR’s Research for Social Care call (RfSC) which has given a total of £2.15 million to new research into adult social care in 2021, as part of NIHR’s commitment to improving social care through high quality evidence and building capacity for research in this field.

Updates on the progress of the project can be found on our dedicated blog, or keep up-to-date with news on our ADS blog.

The Get Real resources, in the form of a series of booklets and short videos, can be found on the dedicated blog site.

For more information on the Get Real project please contact us via

Worcester Life Stories

KYP LSHW combined logos1

Keeping connected is important for our health, with some studies suggesting that the impact of isolation and loneliness on health, functional decline and mortality are of the same magnitude as such risk factors as obesity and smoking. Initial evidence suggests that interventions to reduce loneliness may provide health benefits, and previous projects have shown that life story work helps to keep people with dementia connected with their communities.

In this context, the Worcester Life Stories project aims to bring together health and heritage in a unique way by co-producing two independent, but connecting, online platforms:

Know Your Place Worcester

Know Your Place Worcester is based on a bespoke website developed by Bristol City Council called Know Your Place. Hosted by Worcester City Council, Know Your Place Worcester allows people to explore their neighbourhood through historic maps, images and linked information, and to share their own memories and images. It consists of a map-based database of over 35,000 digitised historic images from the Worcester City Council Historic Environment Record (HER). The platform has scope to hold further collections and continue to evolve and expand, enabling users to learn more about their area or specific parts of Worcester that they have a connection with.

Members of the public will also be able to upload their own photographs, written and oral memories. The platform can be used independently or collaboratively within families or community groups, and it is hoped that it will initiate social media conversations with other residents of Worcester developing new contacts and networks. The Know Your Place Worcester website is free to use and open to everyone -

Life Stories Herefordshire and Worcestershire

Hosted by Herefordshire and Worcestershire Care and Health NHS Trust, Life Stories Herefordshire and Worcestershire is a new online platform that allows anyone living in either Herefordshire or Worcestershire to create their own digital life story book. Using a flexible template, users will be able to download images and memories from Know Your Place Worcester and upload their own materials. People may choose to develop their life story with others, share it within families and friendship groups and/or allow it to be used within community groups, care homes and hospitals for example.

Life Packs are also available on the website, which contain resources around a common theme. These can be used outside of the Life Story books, for example to facilitate reminiscence sessions, or content can be linked to a life story.

All residents in Worcestershire and Herefordshire can create their own digital life story book for free, but you do have to register on the site to be able to do this or to view a shared book. Life Packs are available and free to all. You can find the life stories and life packs here -


The Association for Dementia Studies was commissioned by Historic England to evaluate the experiences and views of individuals and community groups who use the two web-based platforms. 

A blog of the launch event for the two platforms is also available. 

You can keep up-to-date with developments for both platforms on the Worcester Life Stories website 



Crossing the Line Project

Crossing the Line


Personal care includes helping with going to the toilet, washing, bathing, dressing, mouth-care, shaving, haircare, foot and nail-care. Family carers that support people with dementia have told us that the issue of personal care is very important to them, though our research has shown that little is known about it in the context of dementia and family care.

Family carers face challenges adapting to the change in role that providing personal care brings, and this is worsened by lack of skills, know-how, shame and embarrassment. As their dementia progresses, the person with dementia may be increasingly unaware of their need for help or the impact it has on their family, and this leads to high levels of distress, causing physical and emotional harm both to themselves and their family carer. The challenges around personal care are often a tipping point for the person living with dementia to move into a care home. 

The research team will carry out a survey and personal interviews with a diverse range of family carers from across the UK, to develop a deep understanding of the experiences of family carers relating to their provision of personal care to people living with dementia. That understanding will enable the research team to develop resources that will help families to cope with the challenges that they face. 

Crossing the Line is supported by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), who have provided funding for an 18-month project from 1st December 2022 to 31st April 2024.

Further participant information will be accessible here as well as project updates and findings as they become available.

Research team
Lead Applicant: Dr Shirley Evans
Principal Investigators: Professor Prof Tracey Williamson and Dr Shirley Evans
Co-applicants: Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Dementia UK, Susan Briggs, Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) representative, Association for Dementia Studies

Study partners
Alzheimer’s Society; Dementia Carers Count; Dementia UK; Douglas MacMillan Hospice; Home Instead; TiDE

Contact details
Pauline Finlay, Research Associate: 01905 542309

Shirley Evans:

Tracey Williamson: