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Young Dementia Leeds and BME Dementia Service

Young Dementia Leeds and BME Dementia Service collaborate to improve support for local people

As part of Black History Month this year, we want to acknowledge and celebrate the progress our services have made towards becoming more inclusive.

This year, Young Dementia Leeds (YDL) have joined in partnership with Touchstone’s BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Dementia Service to support those with early onset dementia.

Young Dementia Leeds Hub

The YDL service is a partnership between Community Links and Carers Leeds. They offer a range of wellbeing, holistic and mutual and peer support.

YDL Hub offers respite care for younger people living with dementia. They provide a programme of activities using creative and imaginative approaches.

The support workers ensure that family and carers are fully supported and have access to the relevant information to help them continue to care and support their loved ones and themselves.

The BME Dementia Service

The BME Service supports the health and wellbeing of older people from black, and minority ethnic communities across Leeds who are living with memory problems or a diagnosis of dementia.

Their aim is to raise awareness of dementia within BME communities by breaking down the barriers that exists about dementia and bring it out into the open so that people can access the support they need while meeting their language, cultural and religious needs.

They provide culturally appropriate Dementia awareness talks within community settings such as day centres, local community groups or religious centres. The talks are tailored to the needs of the group and can be delivered in a variety of languages.

A Growing Partnership:

Since the launch of the service in 2017, YDL have reached out to the ethnic minority communities and have had the occasional referral but felt that their client list did not reflect the city demographic.

A few years ago, YDL were involved in ‘A Life More Ordinary’ project with Touchstone’s Asian Elder Group along with the BME Service. After their involvement with this project, they decided to be proactive and continue to build on their relationship with the BME Service.

Due to the pandemic, things were put on hold but at the end of last year, the BME Service reached out and as a result both hubs have been able to visit each other. Dementia Awareness Week was a great opportunity for the partnership to develop. The BME Service were invited to the YDL’s Good Eating Event and in return, YDL were invited to a Jubilee Party. Clients connected with each other and enjoyed food and fun activities together.

Having the opportunity to meet and share knowledge has allowed both services to better understand the work they do and to support overcoming some of the challenges that they may face. YDL have been able to acknowledge that they can support the BME Service with better outcomes for their clients with an early on-set dementia diagnosis and in turn, the BME Service can help YDL to gain a better understanding of the needs of ethnic minority communities. The aim moving forward is to develop this relationship and for colleagues in each service to gain experience and knowledge across both hubs to create an effective partnership.

We caught up with Liz Menacer, Service Manager at YDL about this new partnership. Liz said:

‘‘This experience has taught me that by using my social network, with sincerity, persistence, and patience, we can progress and make the breakthroughs we need to create the diverse service we aspire to. We have gained supportive partners along the way too and ultimately this will allow us to create better outcomes for any person with early onset dementia.’’

Being proactive and collaborating has allowed each service to develop and grow, gain support and new contacts along the way, and demonstrates how actions can lead to improved outcomes.

YDL are hosting a Cookery Day this month, where clients and carers come together to refresh their knowledge on nutrition and learn about the connection between food and dementia. They will be cooking and eating together and above all else, having a laugh!

Follow Young Dementia Leeds and The BME Dementia Service on Twitter for updates:

YDL: @YoungDementiaLS

BME Service: @TBmedementia