Funding approved for new Meeting Centres in Worcestershire

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In January 2020, Worcestershire County Council and the six district councils of Worcestershire announced they would be investing £540,000 from the County’s Business Rates Retention Pilot to help local communities across the county to set up specialist dementia Meeting Centres across, putting the county at the forefront of this new way of supporting those living with the condition and their families.

Although the coronavirus pandemic put the launch of the Worcestershire Meeting Centres Community Support Programme on hold, three applications for funding have now been approved at a meeting of the joint University of Worcester and Worcestershire County Council Assessment Panel.

University of Worcester Fellow, Dorothy Wilson MBE, the independent chair of the Panel said: “The Panel was delighted to be able to approve funding for three applications submitted under the first call for applications and we are now looking forward to assessing the next batch of applications at our Panel meeting on 30 April 2021 for applications received by 31 March 2021.”

The three successful applications have each been awarded funding of up to £60,000 to set up new Meeting Centres in Worcester, Malvern Hills/Tenbury and Malvern Link.

Clare Thomas, the CEO of Age UK Worcester and Malvern Hills, which submitted the applications for Centres in Worcester and Malvern Hills, said: “We are delighted to be awarded this funding to help set up Centres in those parts of the County which my organisation covers and we are looking forward to opening these as soon as the current situation allows.”

Rev’d Phillip Johnson, Vicar of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, added: “We were also delighted to be awarded this funding toward setting up a Centre in Malvern Link and look forward to continuing to work closely with a number of other organisations to support those living with dementia in this part of the county.”

Meeting Centres were originally developed in the Netherlands and were brought to the UK by the University of Worcester’s Association for Dementia Studies. 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.

Councillor Adrian Hardman, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Although it was disappointing that the launch of the Programme had to be delayed we are pleased to see local communities now coming together to set up new Meeting Centres across Worcestershire and look forward to seeing more successful applications over the coming months.”

Further applications can be submitted at any time up to 30 September 2021.  The application form, together with a number of supporting documents can be accessed via the University of Worcester website at

If you have any questions about the Programme and the application process please email