University to Host National Event on Community Dementia Support

The Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) at the University of Worcester will host an event on July 12 to celebrate the completion of a two-year National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) funded project.

The Get Real with Meeting Centres project has been looking into the problems faced by community groups who support people and families living with dementia – specifically how to keep such groups going in tough times, when there is so little funding and support out there.


Meeting Centres

ADS pioneered the introduction of Meeting Centres – a kind of social club for people and families affected by dementia – in the UK. Meeting Centres began in the Netherlands but are now spreading across towns and communities in England, Scotland and Wales, thanks to the leadership of the University of Worcester research centre. There are now more than 50 Meeting Centres in the UK and the number is growing all the time.

Dr Shirley Evans, Interim Director of ADS, said: “Meeting Centres are places where people can get help, make friends and stay connected in their communities. They tend to be run by grass-roots community groups or charities and they can face a real struggle to keep going long term – but the support they provide to people living with dementia is invaluable and often doesn’t exist elsewhere.

“Our Get Real with Meeting Centres project was designed to learn as much as we can about the challenges facing these community groups so that we might find ways to overcome those challenges and help make them a stable and valued part of the support out there for people with dementia.”


The project

The Get Real project began in January 2021 and completed in March this year. New advice videos and booklets outlining what might help or hinder community groups in keeping going will be unveiled at the event, which is being held at the University of Worcester Arena.

Dr Evans said: “Over the past two years we have talked to dozens of people attending, running, and supporting three case-study Meeting Centres in England and Wales to help us find out how things work and what the challenges are. We have also conducted a UK-wide survey to help understand what elements of Meeting Centres people most value.

“At this end-of-project event we will thank everyone who took part and reveal what we have learnt – including the unveiling of new information booklets and the premiere of new informative videos. We will also discuss how this might inform next steps for Meeting Centres in the UK.”


The celebration

The Get Real celebration event is open to anyone who is involved with, or has an interest in, community-based support for people affected by dementia, including people who are living with dementia and those that support them. If you are interested in attending, please email Thomas Morton at for more information and registration details.