UK Meeting Centres Support Programme (UKMCSP)


UK Meeting Centres Support Programme  logo strip

The Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) at the University of Worcester has been awarded a National Lottery grant from the Big Lottery Fund.  The project will run from 1st Sept 2018 to 31st August 2021. The aim is to help establish new meeting centres in different parts of the UK to work with their communities to support people and families directly affected by dementia. 

This funding will enable us to build real capacity across the UK so that Meeting Centres can form a backbone of community-based active support to people and families across the country. By working together with early adopters in their communities and with national influencers, UK MCSP will attain the national visibility, momentum and traction to bring future generations of Meeting Centres on board.

ADS was a co-investigator on a successful research project, MEETING DEM, that took the learning from the Netherlands to set up Meeting Centres in the UK, Italy and Poland and to evaluate their impact. As part of the project two pilot demonstrator Meeting Centre sites were established in Droitwich Spa and Leominster. These have now established themselves as charities since the research funding ended in August 2017.  

With this funding we have a unique opportunity to develop a sharing of the learning across early adopters of the Meeting Centre model in the UK from different regions and jurisdictions as well as from organisations of different types such as housing associations, faith groups and day centres who could be well placed to build Meeting Centres from their existing provision.

Project Outputs

By the end of the three years, the UK MCSP will deliver:-

  • Between 15 and 20 new Meeting Centres opened or under development across the UK for people and families affected by dementia that can act as demonstrator sites and centres of learning for others.
  • Greater understanding from sharing the learning of how Meeting Centres function over time in different communities, jurisdictions, locations, rural and urban via the following:-
    • UK MCSP National Reference Group –  a range of representatives from organisations from across the UK with an interest in the needs of people living with dementia and including people directly affected by dementia guiding and informing the national programme and strategy and disseminating the learning from Meeting Centres.
    • Early Adopters UK MCSP Core Group - representatives with significant experience of organising and running the existing Meeting Centres and will be joined by those who are actively developing a MC or working to develop similar projects that could meet the criteria for a MC. It is envisaged that these organisations will become demonstrator sites alongside Droitwich Spa and Leominster. 
    • Meeting Centres Community of Practice – to share learning between different Centres, to support each other and to help those who are interested in setting up Meeting Centres locally both during and beyond the Project period.     
  • Accessible information, training, skills development and on-going support on how to set up and sustain a functioning Meeting Centre in the UK.  To achieve this we will:- 
    • Review and develop existing resources and training approaches which will be to support the demonstrator and early adopter sites.
    • Hold workshops for those interested in starting Meeting Centres in their communities.
    • Set-up a help-desk early on for existing, new and pre start-up Centres.
  • Greater understanding of the costs and benefits to people with dementia, family carers and local communities to be used as an evidence base for policy decision makers on the impact of Meeting Centres.
    • Evaluating the demonstrator sites and early adopters during Year 2 in terms of benefits and cost-effectiveness in a similar way to the MEETINGDEM project.
    • Develop a self-evaluation tool in consultation with the reference group to enable Meeting Centres to evaluate and understand the benefits for people with dementia and carers and the wider community and the cost-effectiveness. 
  • A business and sustainability plan to ensure continuity of the outputs of the project with a view to future operation being self-funding.  Aspects of this work will include the following:-
    • Developing the Community of Learning and Practice to become self-sustaining so that people, communities or organisations can get the support they need when they leave or move on from our project.
    • Establishing Meeting Centres so that they become a workable option for local community groups across the UK. 
    • Encouraging other organisations (include statutory organisations where relevant) to respond to what has been achieved by changing what they do or how they do it.
    • Moving towards a similar model developed in the Netherlands, whereby the main functions are supported by income from the annual training courses and other income generating activity.

Project Team






Professor Dawn Brooker

Strategic oversight and direction of all aspects of the project; ensuring its overall success and quality of delivery; driving real knowledge transfer and translation of the project outputs to make a positive impact for people affected by dementia; ensuring continuity of outputs post-project.  Chair of the National Reference Group.

Programme Manager

Dr Shirley Evans

Day to day management of the project and central point of contact; ensuring and assuring high quality and timely deliverables and reports; communicating within the University of Worcester and across partners and other relevant stakeholders. Weekly monitoring of project plan, risk register, dissemination, publication and communications plans. Developing and Implementing the evaluation and related tools.

Meeting Centres Practice Development Coaches

Mary Bruce

Nicola Jacobson-Wright

Leading on training, education and practice development work.  Developing and delivering: - training courses for staff of Meeting Centres and providing post-training supervision; training courses for Meeting Centre Ambassadors; Pioneer Workshops.

Research Assistant

Jennifer Bray

Developing and reviewing resources and undertaking documentary analysis, data collection, data analysis and reporting. 


Mike Watts

Planning, up-dating documentation, organising meetings, following up progress, and organising training events and conferences.

Finance Officer

Michele Bowers

Co-ordination of all financial aspects of the UK MCSP project to meet requirements made within the grant.

Essential Features of a Meeting Centre

Every Meeting Centre is different. These differences are determined by the needs and interests of the people using them, their families and their local communities. However, there are certain ‘Essential Features’ both in the way that Meeting Centres develop and in how they operate that define them. Some of these features may be common with other types of support but taken together they make a Meeting Centre. Although it is recognised that it may be difficult to maintain all the ‘Essential Features’ all of the time, they are important in terms of the validity of the Meeting Centre model. This model, which is based on sound research evidence, helps people to cope well in adjusting to living with the symptoms and changes that dementia brings. This booklet sets out these Essential Features

Essential Features of a Meeting Centre booklet February 2020 edition

The booklet includes a table which enables an organisation to assess whether they measure up to the Essential Features of a Meeting Centre. Meeting these criteria entitles the organisation to use the Meeting Centres UK logo and be listed as a Meeting Centre operating as part of the UK Meeting Centres Support Programme. The following Centres are those which currently meet the criteria and have been designated as demonstrator sites:-

If you would be interested in finding out more about these Centres or to arrange a visit please email

Worcestershire Meeting Centres Community Support Programme

Please see separate page

Training programme to help staff/volunteers

We are delivering training programme to help staff/volunteers understand how to develop an enjoyable and flexible Meeting Centre programme which is key to the development of a successful Centre. Those attending this training will explore the different elements that make up a Programme and explore the practicalities of implementing it. This will include looking at:

  • The Meeting Centre ethos
  • The Essential Features of a Meeting Centre
  • The Adapting to Change model and how this model can be used in practice to support both members with dementia and family carers.
  • The physical, social and psychological effect of movement on individuals, with the opportunity for staff/volunteers to start to consider how this can be incorporated into the Meeting Centre programme.

Whilst we do not expect staff/volunteers to have in-depth knowledge of dementia, we do expect that they have some understanding, we therefore request that all those attending the training have become Dementia Friends – see

Target audience: This training has been developed specifically to support frontline staff/volunteers who will have day to day responsibility of running a Meeting Centre but may also be of interest to Trustees/other supporters.

Facilitated by: Mary Bruce, University of Worcester, Association for Dementia Studies

Dates and format (Online/distance learning or face to face)

  • to be confirmed

Workshop Fee: The training is free but those attending any face to face trianing will need to cover their own travel and accommodation costs. (Please note that this could be cancelled if insufficient delegates register. This will be assessed no later than 1 week so you may wish to hold off booking travel and accommodation prior to this).

Venue for face to face training: tbc but planning for this to be held at The Hive, Sawmill Walk, The Butts, Worcester, WR1 3PD

For further information and booking arrangements: Please email or tel: 01905 542531

Meeting Centres Support Programme

Meeting Centre  - Bring Your Own Lunch (BYOL) webinars 

During  2020, we will be running a Meeting Centre webinar on the last Friday of every month 12.30 pm to 1.00 pm. These will be informal presentations/ talks with a view to sharing practice and a chance to ask questions. We call it a Bring Your Own Lunch (BYOL) webinar – just get your sandwiches, put your headset on and log in – following the links below. Please let us know if you would like to run a session – you would be very welcome there are spaces from April on. For more information about joining a session via Go to Meeting  -

January 31st 2020- Leominster Meeting Centre

20200128 BYOL Leominster Meeting Centre

February 28th 2020 – Kirriemuir Meeting Centre

200228 KIRRIEMUIR Art for art's sake plus links to YOUTUBE CLIPS  

March 27th 2020 – Droitwich Spa

April 24th 2020 - Dementia Matters in Powys - Virtual Meeting Centres

 May 29th 2020 - Northampton and Lutterworth 

 June 26th 2020

Community Matters presentation

 July 31st 2020

 Aug 28th 2020

 Sept 25th 2020

 Oct 30th 2020

 Nov 27th 2020

 Dec 18th 2020

For more information

If you would like to know more about the Programme and be a part of please get in touch with us at

Further information can also be downloaded from here

Further reading and resources


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 Additional videos/films

Useful links

Think Local Act Personal innovationsInnovations in community-centred support