AGM July 2022

Dementia Friendly Sandbach

AGM Agenda Wednesday 6th July 2022

Venue: Elworth Cricket Club Start: 19.30

  1. Welcome/Apologies

  2. Minutes of AGM 6th July 2021

  3. Annual Report

  4. Accounts 2021-2022

  5. Elect Steering Committee and Officers

  6. Any Other Business

    1. Cheshire Arts for Health – Arts for Dementia

  7. Proposed Date of next AGM – Wednesday 5th July 2023

Dementia Friendly Sandbach –Annual Report to 2022 AGM


This third annual report covers the 12 months since the last AGM on 6th July 2021. The period has continued to be affected by limitations as a result of the continuing coronavirus pandemic. Our approach has been as much as possible to maintain activities supporting those living with dementia with controls to manage the coronavirus risk.

We are operating against a background both nationally and locally of challenges for those living with dementia:

  1. While the cost of Dementia to both the NHS and Social Care is over £20 billion a year, social care in particular is underfunded, with care staff poorly rewarded for the critical jobs they do. Locally, volunteer groups like DFS are organising and funding activities which were previously commissioned services (such as the Sandbach dementia cafe at the Old Hall).

  2. Resulting care staff shortage is affecting both those living at home with dementia as well as those in care homes. Locally, Brantwood care home closed because it could not recruit appropriate staff to run effectively.

  3. The pandemic has been particularly devastating for those living with dementia. Many more with dementia died of coronavirus than should have done. Often their loved ones were unable to see them in their final hours or even to have a proper funeral. The isolation for those living at home from the cessation of visiting care or day services, or even emergency respite, has had damaging effects on the mental health of those living with dementia and their carers.

Currently, there are 186 Ashfields patients with a dementia diagnosis. The number of actual patients with dementia is significantly higher, as people with concerns have been more reluctant to contact their GP during the pandemic, and the services such as memory clinics were closed at times.

Ascertain priorities from those living with dementia and their carers

We have not carried out specific feedback surveys over the period, other than in support of the development of the CEC/CCCG Dementia Strategy. For this we ran feedback workshops in August 2021 as part of the inputs to developing the strategy. Last month DFS engaged with the public consultation phase, providing a response on behalf of DFS as well as encouraging individuals to submit their own responses.

Less formal feedback has again emphasised the importance of restarting the likes of monthly dementia cafes as a return to normality.

We have continued to respond to Individual feedback on difficulties caused by restrictions such as visiting those affected by dementia in hospital or care homes, and admission isolation requirements. During the period, the DFS Chair has joined the Leighton Hospital Dementia Care Group which has helped to raise the profile of issues raised.

We have continued to run weekly virtual coffee mornings via zoom, and have invited presenters from CEC Adult Social Care, the Carers’ Hub, CEC Financial Care Assessment Officer, North West Ambulance Service and a Nurse Practitioner and Social Prescriber from Ashfields. This has also enabled those living with dementia and their carers to raise any issues they’ve faced.

We have still made no progress with re-establishing a peer group for those affected by dementia (such groups were run a few years ago until CEC funding was stopped). This will be taken forward as a priority.

Improving public and local groups awareness through public information campaigns and targeted campaigns

Dementia Friends sessions have been run online via Zoom and more recently face to face (eg with a local brownie pack last week). These have mainly been run in support of recognising businesses in Sandbach as dementia friendly.

We developed our own website last year and continue to publicise our activities in the local press and via our Facebook page as well as on the website. Earlier this year we negotiated a full page spread in the March issue of the Sandbach Directory. Somewhat serendipitously the following issue of the Directory highlighted our most recent project with Sandbach School. We also presented at the Sandbach Town Council Annual Town Meeting.

As part of 2022 Dementia Awareness Week we manned an information stand at Ashfields surgery between 16th and 18th May and then in the indoor market between 19th and 21st May. We supported the national Alzheimer’s Society campaign to encourage people to go to their GP early if they may be experiencing problems with memory.

Improving business awareness through information giving and to promote dementia friendly businesses

Since the last AGM we reworked our main leaflet for local businesses including highlighting the ‘Please be patient with me I have dementia’ wristbands which we developed and have been giving out to local residents living with dementia who wanted them.

We have recognised a further small number of businesses and organisations as dementia friendly, but overall this remains a challenge.

More recently, we have engaged with local sports clubs who have been very supportive, often providing venues for our events. Sandbach United Football Club have also offered us free ‘awareness space’ using one of their pitch-side hoardings which we are taking forward.

The Alzheimer’s Society who oversee the business recognition scheme nationally have recently developed a more structured and formalised process. We have concerns that this may represent an additional hurdle for some small businesses to seek recognition, and are trialling it with some existing dementia friendly organisations around Sandbach.

This will continue to be a focus over the next period.

Supporting the distribution of good quality information about services and activities to service users and carers

2019 target to produce a directory of monthly diary of activities; publicise directory e.g. What’s on in Sandbach; Town Council website.

There has been limited progress in the last period in producing such a directory. As face to face activities have settled into a more established pattern, we have started producing a quarterly schedule of DFS activities. This will form the basis of the proposed directory.

We have focussed on disseminating information from a variety of sources and signposting information and services to those we have been in contact with, virtually via zoom, email or phone, and increasingly face to face.

In August 2021, Paul Clark of SpallClark and David Garrett of Kellands IFA joined a coffee morning at Sandbach Rugby Club to talk about the legal and financial aspects of care, with over 30 attendees.

Helping to provide, with others, specific activities to support those living with dementia

2019 target to organise 3 events during year – Easter, Summer, Christmas

We continue to run virtual coffee mornings weekly via zoom and will continue to do so while there is a demand for those.

As restrictions have eased, we have run two regular coffee mornings each month at the Market Tavern and Sandbach Rugby Club and these are now established that anybody can drop in without booking beforehand. Only one, in January 2022, had to be cancelled because of rising coronavirus cases. To date, DFS have subsidised the refreshments, so attendance has been free of charge. This has been both to manage the covid risks by minimising attendee movement, and to encourage those still hesitant to come. Going forward, we will review how we put these on a more sustainable basis.

The corresponding Saturday morning coffee morning, run by Sandbach Crosses Rotary and the Unity Methodist Church Sandbach restarted in November 2021.

We managed to run a Christmas event at Sandbach Cricket Club, with entertainment provided by Sandbach School, despite the rising coronavirus rate, which depressed numbers somewhat.

We also ran an Easter event at the Wesley Centre, with the centrepiece being a down memory lane presentation by Pauline and Stephen Minshull which focussed on the changes in Sandbach over the last 60 years.

Sandbach Arts for Health started an Arts and Crafts for Dementia session in October 2021 initially on a trial basis. This has developed into a regular weekly session, albeit with a relatively small set of attendees. We are working with them to promote this more widely.

The Alzheimer’s Society restarted their face to face Singing for the Brain sessions at St Peter’s Church Hall, Elworth in April 2022 and we have been referring a number of people who wanted to join these sessions.

Last Monday, we supported an accessible walk in Sandbach Park organised as part of last week’s Sandbach Walking Festival.

Last month, Elworth Grange Care home hosted a successful coffee morning with about 25 visitors. We are hoping to work with Elworth Grange in the future to develop joint initiatives of benefit both to their residents and those living with dementia at home.

Helping to provide, with others, specific activities to support carers of those living with dementia

2019 target to organise 2 events during the year

No carer-specific events organised to date.

Helping, with others, those living with dementia have better access to local services, events and activities

Target was to liaise with Ashfields, the Police, The Fire Service, the Ambulance Service, CEC, STC, and local bus companies to raise awareness.

This has largely been covered above. PCSO Spike and PC Steve (before he retired) regularly attended coffee mornings to promote the Herbert Protocol, and arranged for colleagues to visit people at home to help them complete the forms.

An increasing number of new referrals have been welcomed to DFS events.

Achieving recognition as a dementia friendly community

Target was to register an interest in the award and to work towards achieving it

Sandbach registered with the Alzheimer’s Society as aspiring to become a dementia friendly community in July 2019. Progress provided to Alzheimer’s Society via Dementia Friends website. Annual review to maintain registration July 2021 was accepted and the 2022 review is due shortly.

To make the group financially independent

Targets were to adopt a vision statement (done inaugural AGM), adopt a constitution (revised 2021 AGM) and seek/apply for relevant funding/fundraising.

Current financial position is robust. Continuing donations have been received from local community groups and individuals for which DFS is very grateful.

At the beginning of this year, we decided to get some badges made with our logo on, and offer them in return for donations to DFS. Sandbach School offered to make them, and delivered the first 150 at a visit to the school to see production in March 2022 –the teamwork involved was impressive!

Two supporters have produced nearly 100 hand-crocheted forget me nots for the same purpose.

Other DFS activities during the period

During the year we signed up to the Sunflower Hidden Disability scheme. This is a nationally recognised scheme addressing all forms of hidden disability, not just dementia. We initially procured 30 lanyards and 15 cards for those with dementia and 15 for carers of those living with dementia. We have offered these free of charge to local residents eligible for them.

Planned Future Activities

Planned future activities have already been outlined above. The emphasis, with feedback from those affected by dementia, is to re-establish normality!


DFS has continued to provide valued support to the community although there is still plenty to do for Sandbach to truly become a dementia friendly community. None of this would have been possible without the support and dedication put in by the members of the committee as well as those non-members who have regularly attended and supported such as PCSO Spike Elliott and PC Steve Dutton, Anna Bignell and Cllr Laura Crane from Cheshire East Council, Co-op pioneer Arnie Laing and Keeley Todd of Sandbach Partnership.

It would also not have been possible without the help of venue hosts such as Sandbach Rugby Club/Symphony catering, Market Tavern, Sandbach and Elworth Cricket Clubs, Wesley Centre, volunteers who have helped out for various activities and donors, as acknowledged above.

Thank you all.

Dave Whitworth

Chair, Dementia Friendly Sandbach

5th July 2022

DFS YE 31 03 2022