The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) and the University of Plymouth are to undertake groundbreaking research on dementia in local (parish and town) councils.
NALC and the University believe that England's 10,000 local councils play an important role within communities to offer solutions to help tackle dementia. The research will aim to find out precisely what local councils are doing to help support their communities in relation to dementia.
The project begins today, 24 February 2020 and will last around two months, during which time an extensive survey will be completed by local councils. Once the data is collected and analysed, a joint report will be published, which will summarise what local councils are doing and make recommendations on what they can do to help make their communities healthier.
Cllr Sue Baxter, chairman of NALC, said:
"This cutting-edge research led by Ian Sherriff BEM is an interesting opportunity to get more insight on what local councils are doing, but more importantly, on how we can support them to level-up and help the most vulnerable in their communities.”
There are currently around 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, putting a strain on health services and families and carers. For the person living with dementia, it can trigger loneliness, confusion and isolation. It is essential for those living in rural areas that local councils create a community where residents have an active lifestyle and feel safe and supported.
Ian Sherriff, the University’s Academic Partnership Lead for Dementia said:
“Back in 2012 I started working with teams in the South Hams to set up dementia friendly parishes around the Yealm. With this initiative, we showed that local councils have the potential to make an enormous difference to the lives of those living with dementia, their families and friends, particularly when combined with a caring, dedicated and enthusiastic community.
“This research will look at what such councils are currently doing, in order to guide a national strategy to encourage and support them to help their constituents.”
Ian Sherriff is a leading figure in dementia policy at a local, national and international level, having an influence both through his involvement in research, and as an expert on bodies such as the Prime Minister’s Dementia Friendly Communities Challenge Group and the Prime Minister’s Rural Dementia Group, which he chairs.Internationally, as Chair of the Dementia Air Transport Group (2016–2020), he has worked with the Civil Aviation Authority, the aviation industry and people with dementia to introduce new CAA guidelines (2016) to assist passengers with hidden disabilities.