I started as the new Integration and Inclusion Coordinator for the Our Connected Neighbourhoods Project in January this year. Funded by The Life Changes Trust and Stirling Council the project is hosted by the University of Stirling’s Faculty of Social Sciences and is being delivered through our consortium of partner organisations. Our Connected Neighbourhoods is the intervention stage of Neighbourhoods: Our People Our Places.
Initially focusing on the North Stirling area, the project is an evidence-informed dementia-enabling community development project. We will listen to what people living with dementia and their unpaid carers and want, assisting them to collaborate to create solutions in their own neighbourhoods, creating some helpful tools and resources along the way.
My background experience includes working in advocacy, involvement and inclusion, consultation, project development and management in mental health, epilepsy, older and younger people’s services and volunteering. Along with support from the project staff, volunteers and partner organisations, I aim to use all my experience to engage and include people living with dementia across all the project strands and throughout the three phases of the project.
Over the next three years my role will focus on the meaningful involvement and inclusion of people living with dementia and the timely progression of the three project phases. In line with the wider ethos of the Neighbourhoods Programme, people living with dementia will shape the work from the very beginning. To work towards this I have already been out and consulted with people living with dementia on the design of our accessible information and referral leaflet. We are in the process of consulting people on the design of the projects graphics including designing the logo. Off the back of our accessible information work we are also developing a toolkit for organisations to audit and develop their own accessible information. The toolkit will eventually be available from our dedicated website.
Phase One – Audit
We start with a pilot in the Ward 4 North Stirling area. We intend to audit the community by interviewing people living with dementia. This will establish our initial connection with people living with dementia, and enable us to ‘plot’ naturally occurring clusters of people. We will search for community leaders, the important themes and places for that community. The information gathered will in turn inform the audits and workshops of the main project strands. The main strands are:
- Community Through volunteer community researchers and questionnaires
- Environment Through workshops
- Care homes Through an Arts and Inclusion approach supported by Artlink Central
- Online / Digital Through workshops
Phase two – Community Action and Education
The other project cross strands are:
- Support and services
- Education and community dialogue
- Evaluation (led by the University team)
- Sustainability (supported through further fundraising)
- Rollout throughout the rest of Stirling and Forth Valley – With the help of partner organisations we will take the ideas and approaches we identify and develop in our pilot out to other communities.
We are currently recruiting volunteers in the Stirling and Forth Valley area to be community researchers. The role will be varied and interesting with a real opportunity to shape the work. If you, or anyone you know, is interested in finding out more or volunteering with our exciting and innovative project then please get in contact with me at David.Budd@stir.ac.uk.
About the author
Dave Budd is the Integration and Inclusion Coordinator for the Our Connected Neighbourhoods Project, which started in January this year (2018). Dave’s experience includes working in advocacy, involvement and inclusion, consultation, project development and management in mental health, epilepsy, older and younger people’s services and volunteering to name a few.
You can find out more about the project on its website and by following the project on Twitter @InclusiveSFV.