Local Charity VASA is adding new services to help those living with dementia in the Stratford District

Dementia training at VASADuring the last year VASA (Voluntary Action Stratford on Avon District) has been relooking the services they offer. This year, the organisation has added social and rural inclusion services to their already wide reaching community transport service. Now, they are forging ahead to deliver day services and activity groups that will help those living with dementia.

“The need is definitely there for dementia day services as well as group activities.”- Kirsty Holder, Head of Services

training day at Voluntary Action StratfordVASA has already made an impact in the district by helping over 3000 beneficiaries access community transport to help them overcome loneliness and isolation, now they are adding groups for those clients, and others, to access.

This month, the team of part time staff (9) were invited to a training day on services during which they learned a lot more about connecting with those living with illness in their later years such as dementia and multi morbidity. VASA’s CEO – Jane van Velsen – believes strongly in staff and volunteer development and took the team to Batsford Arboretum.

“We’ve learned so much about each other and team working as well as new information on dementia so that we are better placed to help those in our community living with this and other illnesses.”

Alison Gravestock

Brain functionalityThe team talk with enthusiasm about their training day at Batsford Arboretum saying that it increased their understanding of how different types of dementia can affect each of the four lobes in the brain that control different functions at different times. They discussed facts about dementia and the staff received tips on the best ways to communicate with clients who live with dementia and their carers.

Case studies were brought into the training session. They were based on real life experiences the community transport team face on a daily basis. The team were taught how safeguarding procedures play a vital role in how different issues are managed in the office.

Dementia Walks

Learning the value of natures impact on those living with dementia

After their training, the team were asked to consider new services that VASA could offer in the future to increase dementia awareness in the district and help the residents of the area. Dementia walks and gardening are high on the agenda!

VASA now have three day services, a tea and coffee morning, carers café and three  lunch clubs running alongside community transport that offers journeys for social, rural inclusion and medical appointments.

After the training day, all attendees were taken into the gardens at Batsford Arboretum and shown how those living with dementia respond to nature and how they perceive sights, smells, touch, noises and tastes. All our staff are now far more aware of some of the issues our beneficiaries face just to order a community car or book a place at a lunch club!

VASA team hard at work on dementia and services training day

VASA staff and volunteers at dementia and services training day

A quick lunch break at team building day at VASA

A quick stop for lunch!

Understanding the role nature plays in dementia services

Learning about sensory impact

Volunteers from VASA learn about dementia

VASA volunteers training at Batsford Arboretum

Handkercheif tree blossoms

The famous ‘handkerchief’ tree blossom