Project Progress

Our Transport Services

The last 3 months proved to be the busiest ever period for our volunteer transport service. On average, we managed to help a dozen or more local people each month get to their appointments at the hospital, the doctor, the dentist, the physio, the optician, etc. And I have to confess that there were times last month when I did wonder whether we would be able to find that one more driver at short notice. But we managed - and continue to do so. This is all due to our wonderful volunteer drivers. They give all the care and support in getting you there, during your appointment, and in returning home that you could wish for – no matter how long it takes.

If you are elderly and/or frail in any way* and need to attend a medically related appointment but don’t drive or have an alternate way of getting there, this is how the service works. (Click Here
(Item posted 28/08/22)

An Evaluation of the Health, Social and Well-Being Care for the Elderly in Debenham. 

Just before Covid arrived on our doorsteps The Debenham Project with the support of the Parish Council  commissioned, and collaborated with the University of Suffolk to carry out an initial research study exploring the availability, provision and quality of Health, Social, and Well-Being Care in Debenham. We felt that it is important that our local community should have a very clear understanding of the provision and costs of the  health, social and well-being care for our older residents. Despite the impact of the pandemic we have been able complete the study and publish the results of their work. I hope you will find the contents interesting and food for thought. As the annual the cost to Debenham and the surrounding area is well in excess of £16M (£1,800 per resident) it would seem appropriate that, as a community, we should seek to have a say in the future development of these services in the future. When you have had the chance to look at the report (Evaluating Health and Social Care), please do let me have any comments and suggestions you may have.

We conducted this research purely  in support of our own community but, to develop influence, it is something that requires to be considered in a wider context. We hope that this report not only identifies some key issues for local people, but also makes a powerful argument for all local communities to set out their views, ideas (and plans) for the care of their older population. As the general desire for local and individual participation, i.e. co-production, in the planning for the development and provision of support services continues to increase, we hope that this research will lead to other parishes adopting a similar approach and putting the health and well-being of their older residents firmly on their agenda. Our hope is that every community should be encouraged to carry out their own health, social and well-being care evaluation leading to a "Community Care Plan" in a similar way as for "Community (Planning/Housing) Development Plans".
(Item posted 14/08/22)

A New Dementia Support Service for Suffolk: 

Four years ago Suffolk Adult Care created a new approach to their support for families living with the impact of dementia on their lives. This was Dementia Together, managed by the Sue Ryder charity, which offered a range of services based upon working with communities -  and we were a founder member. Suffolk County Council has now re-let the contract to The Alzheimer's Society in collaboration with Suffolk Family Carers. The service provides a helpline for advice , information, and "a listening ear" with the follow-up of experienced and personal support. If you are struggling please call to make contact. For more information click Suffolk Service Overview , e- mail, or phone 0333 150 3456.
(Item posted 31/22)

On-Line Support: 

We have developed an integrated set of on-line activities. We call this our which has been been specially designed to help anyone who may be struggling to care for a loved one, worried about the future, depressed, emotionally low, and tired. It brings together Exercise, Relaxation, Music, and Nature to offer support in your home. We hope that by logging on and regularly participating you will feel more able to look forward to coping with the day to day problems and, for a while, able to relax and be refreshed. You will find this on our On-Line Resouces page.
(Item posted 01/07/22)

Life During Covid: 

The life of The Debenham Project suddenly turned upside down in March 2020. No longer could we continue to do what was the core of our support to the local families living with the impact of dementia on their lives, and also to those other participants who benefited from involvement in the groups and activities provided by the Project. Although, many other charities had to close e.g. Age UK Suffolk, we had always followed the guidance of the Charity Commission to maintain sufficient reserves to ensure our survival for 2 years with minimal funding. Nevertheless, we could not just pause for an unknown period of time. Clearly the lock-down and the inevitable resulting isolation was going to make life so much more difficult and stressful for both family carers and those they care for. In the spirit of the Project we "got on and did something" and adapted - phone calls, e-mails, newsletters. It couldn't replace the personal contact, the face-to-face reassurance, the pleasure of an afternoon tea, lunch club or Fit Club with friends - but it said "we know and understand how hard this is for you and we are here to help". Towards the end of 2021 we were able to begin opening up again- which has been a joy.

If you would like to know more about how we responded to the pandemic please go to  Life During Covid - an Analysis
(Item posted 01/07/22)

Life After Covid: 

I am sure you are all aware that The Debenham Project had to rapidly adapt to the lock-down and all that followed. We had to close all our groups and face-to-face services and offer as much support as possible by newsletters, phone, e-mails, and on-line. Most of these have been re-opened and we we are working  to grow the levels of provision and participation back those prior to the pandemic. However, over the last 13 years and,especially over the last couple of years, awareness and understanding of the impact of dementia has greatly improved, the media image of the illness has changed, the priority assigned to its prevention, diagnosis and treatment has increased, social media has begun to dominate in communication, socialising has dramatically reduced, etc. But significant investment in community-based dementia support remains a hope rather than a reality. So it is up to us to continue to "get on and do something" and today that means launching a comprehensive review of The Debenham Project - not because we haven't been very successful, but because we need to respond  to the concerns and needs of carers and those they care for the next 10 years and beyond (The Debenham Project - A New Horizon). See also Parish Mag 2206 (June 22).
(Item posted 15/06/22)

Back in Business - Restarting The Debenham Project

Now the Government has formally relaxed the requirements for social distancing and mask wearing we are firming up on our plans to re-open our clubs and meetings in Dove cottage from the beginning of September. The regular monthly schedule will be:
Carers Club and Info Café – 2nd and 4th Tuesday afternoons
Fit Club – 1st, 3rd and 5th Thursday mornings and 2nd and 4th Thursday afternoons
We look forward to welcoming everyone back. If you would like to know more about them please view our booklet (The Debenham Project) or phone me on 01728 862003. And, if there is someone whom you think might like to join any of the clubs also please let me know. 
Additionally, our transport service for medically related appointments – hospital, GP, physio, clinic, optician, dentist, etc. - has already resumed. 
However, be assured that we are watching the Covid infection rate very closely and we will review our plans and modify or delay them if necessary.
(Item posted 12/06/22)


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