A Salford dementia communications specialist service has secured more than £300,0000 from the National Lottery Reaching Communities fund to grow their support work across Greater Manchester.
Empowered Conversations, which delivers bespoke one-to-one and group support, communication courses and weekly engagement sessions to reduce stress, loneliness and social isolation experienced by those caring for a loved one with dementia, has seen an increase in demand for their services since the pandemic.
The team has adapted their usual sessions and training to run virtually, finding new ways to keep relatives in touch and engaged with one another – from virtual discos, singing sessions, farm visits, talks from professionals and much more.
Since the Empowered Conversations programme launched in 2017, the team has supported over 700 family and professional carers.
The Empowered team moved to Age UK Salford in November 2020 to join the existing Dementia Support Service. Now the £328,000 of funding will ensure the Empowered Conversations team can reach their goal of working with 300 more carers across Greater Manchester over the next two years.
Emma Smith, Project Manager for Empowered Conversations, (pictured) said: “Everybody has contributed with enthusiasm and commitment, especially over the last 12 months.
“All of this hard work has paid off and been recognised by The National Lottery. We can’t wait to take our project to the next level and support more people who are affected by dementia.”
Alongside the communication course and Empowered Carers, which provides one to one support for family carers in Salford, the expanded Dementia Support Service team will be piloting new projects, such as ‘The Getting Along Programme’, which will provide support to couples after a dementia diagnosis and ‘Empowered Movement’, a new virtual session to improve movement and connections.
‘Moving Beyond Words’, a course to help carers supporting family members who have become non-verbal, will also be trialled locally.
Chief Executive of Age UK Salford, Dave Haynes, added: “We are really looking forward to being able to deliver even more support to those who need it most through the pandemic and beyond with a variety of innovate projects.
“Over the last year, the combined work of Empowered Conversations and Dementia Support Services has made a really positive impact in the community during what has been an incredibly tough year for people affected by dementia. We are excited about how we can build on this strong foundation to deliver a wider range of support to more people affected by dementia.”