Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services has been operating as a local and independent charity in the North West of Kent since 1991. We are Kent’s biggest independent charity dedicated to providing support to people affected by dementia and we have a local reputation for providing excellence in dementia care and support. Over the past 5 years the Charity has undergone a period of growth and service expansion. Our previous strategy focused on helping people to remain in their own homes and this continues to be a focus, however in 2021 and beyond it is now important that we demand more for people diagnosed with dementia and help them achieve quality life in those homes.
Increasing our reach
We know that there are people living with dementia in Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley who we do not know about. Of more concern, this means they do not get any specialist support and care. Our objective to reach everyone living with dementia in the community is complex, however, as there are systemic challenges that prevent people getting a diagnosis and getting on the pathway for support. We want more people in the community to know about us and we want everyone receiving a diagnosis of dementia in the area to have contact with us. Our relationships with the Memory Clinics and other health professionals need to be strengthened so we can be there once people receive a diagnosis. We need to better understand the needs of the people from diverse communities and how to reach them. To improve awareness, our brand and marketing strategy will be key, and we will rename the charity to fully reflect our work and purpose.
Demonstrate excellence and specialism
Over the years our services have developed out of need, circumstance and funding opportunities, and all of our services have meant a lot to the people who have used them; but we now need to focus on what we know we are really good at. We need to refine our practice and develop organisational evaluation methods for analysing and demonstrating our impact. Our Leadership Team and Board of Trustees will work hard together to demonstrate excellence and to understand and scrutinise the work we do and the impact it has. Together we will work on our policies and procedures so we can be confident that the Charity is well led and is positioned to meet the needs of people with dementia.
Coproduce a wellbeing service model
The people we support tell us how important physical activity and creative stimulation are to people living with dementia – current evidence backs up this thesis. People living with dementia want a choice of activities and support to take part in both new and old pursuits. We will work with people with dementia to co-create a service delivery model of the groups and activities that people want.
Expand our services
There are areas in Kent and Medway in which people living with dementia do not have access to information, support, guidance and peer support. We are in a position to do something about this. We will work with commissioners and other funders to look at filling these gaps. As a minimum we believe everyone in Kent and Medway should have access to one-to-one information and guidance for themselves and their family, access to knowledge about their condition or the condition of people they support, and access to people in a similar situation to enable peer support.
Increase our efficiency
We have bold ambitions to reach more people and to do more to support people affected by dementia in Kent and Medway, but we know this is not going to be easy. We will strive to improve our efficiency and drive operational improvement in order to achieve more with our existing resources. This means modernising our operational systems and making use of technology to help our people to be as effective as possible. We need to reduce our costs in some areas to enable us to invest in our infrastructure in other areas.