The Activity Academy gains global attention

Community Integrated Care’s insight in promoting arts, culture and person-centred support in dementia care settings gained global attention at the recent International Business Festival in Liverpool.

In December 2017, Community Integrated Care collaborated with NHS Halton CCG, Halton Borough Council, The University of the West of England and the Super League team, Widnes Vikings, to deliver an innovative training event called The Activity Academy. The event, which took place at the Halton Stadium, aimed to develop a new model for training frontline carers in how to utilise creativity and person-centred approaches to improve the lives of people living with dementia. This model and the impressive results from the programme were featured in a special exhibition at the high-profile international event.

The Event

The Activity Academy was funded by University of the West Of England, Bristol, and the Arts and Humanities Research Council, as part of the ‘Dementia Connect’ programme. It was delivered in partnership with FACT (The Foundation for Arts and Creative Technology).

The Academy aimed to explore the impact of bringing together an entire community of frontline care-services, providing them with the training and inspiration in how to support people to lead fuller lives. Working with NHS Halton CCG and Halton Borough Council, Community Integrated Care, invited every dementia care service in the borough to participate in the event.

With a focus on ensuring that sessions were accessible and understandable for all, it provided replicable insight that could be directly applied to enhance the support that participants provided. 

Community Integrated Care played a major role in planning and delivering the programme, with presentations from its Director of Quality and Innovation, Martin McGuigan, and Phil Benson – Manager of the National Dementia Care Awards winning service, EachStep Blackburn. The event also featured contributions from Skills for Care, Live Music Now, House of Memories, Open Eye Gallery, Norton Priory, the acclaimed poet – Terry Caffery, and Widnes Vikings.

Results

With feedback indicating that 100% of attendees were inspired to deliver new approaches to promoting activity, and a post-event analysis demonstrating that all surveyed participating services went on to enhance the support that they deliver, the Activity Academy achieved impressive results. The impact and insight from the event was shared nationally, with the Academy of FAB NHS Stuff showcasing a special podcast from the day on their website throughout May 2018.

Martin McGuigan, Director of Quality and Innovation at Community Integrated Care, says: “At Community Integrated Care, we are committed to working with partners to identify ways to enhance our sector, and the lives of our staff and the people we support. The Activity Academy was an example of this being a collaborative mindset resulting in an impressive event, with great learning outcomes.

To see the insight from this event shared nationally by the Academy of FAB NHS Stuff and then reach global audiences at the International Business Festival is very exciting. We are committed to building upon this success and developing our collaboration with the Dementia Connect team.”

Dr Tim Senior, Academic Research for Dementia Connect, says: “Dementia Connect aims to design a new type of cross-sector Dementia and Creativity Hub. To these ends, we supported projects that best-exemplified the rich potential for new forms of cross-sector partnership in the health field. Activity Academy – as a partnership between a Super league rugby club, a CCG, and a national care provider – is one such project. It is testament to the leadership and vision of the project team, without which few cross-sector partnerships can succeed.

Activity Academy takes on the formidable challenge of improving person-centric care provision through turning to the strength of local communities and organisations. Initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, suggesting this approach is a powerful means of enhancing understanding of person-centred support and appreciation of how creative and physical activities can enable care home residents to better pursue their interests. The potential to scale this approach, or link it up with dementia champion training programmes, speaks to the many important trajectories for the Activity Academy approach.

For us at Dementia Connect, Activity Academy is exemplary of how important it is to support productive, localised partnerships in health.”

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