Police in Boston have teamed up with local organisations, including Boston United Football Club, to offer people living with or diagnosed with dementia the chance to take up volunteer work placements to give them some ‘normality’.
The scheme is the brainchild of Police Community Support Officer Nigel Grant who has witnessed the impact dementia has had on his father.
PCSO Grant and Boston Neighbourhood Policing Team, is working with Boston United Football Club, Boston Dementia Action Alliance, St Botolph’s Church, the Restore Church, the Centenary Church, Cafe Noglish and the University of Lincoln, to provide volunteer workplace opportunities in cafes and shops.
The Boston Dementia Initiative is in response to an appeal for workplace made following the airing in 2019 of the Channel 4 programme, The Restaurant That Makes Mistakes, which focused on people individuals diagnosed with dementia.
PCSO Grant said: “Initially, we are offering five individuals living in the Borough of Boston and living with dementia, the opportunity to work as volunteers for a 24-week period, with participating organisations.
“This will be a great opportunity, particularly for those who feel isolated or lonely, to have the chance to maintain their independence and return to the workplace, be part of a team of dedicated and enthusiastic individuals and continue to make valuable contributions to the community.
“My father was diagnosed with dementia several years ago. As a result of this, I have first-hand experience of the impact the diagnosis has had on him and also our family. Hopefully this initiative will give those living with dementia and feeling in a similar situation to my father, the opportunity to be included once more and make a valuable contribution within the community of Boston.”
Rebecca Barker, general manager at Boston United Football Club, said: “Dementia is something that could affect everyone at some point in their life, so to be able to give someone the chance to volunteer at the stadium in a safe and welcoming environment, a space to meet new people and have their talents appreciated and valued is just fantastic.”
Adam Kelk, head verger at St Botolph’s Church, said: “We are delighted to be working with partners in welcoming those living with dementia to St Botolph’s (Boston Stump) to volunteer with us. St Botolph’s prides itself in welcoming all who live in Boston to work with us and offer hospitality to all those who visit. Our ambition is to include all those who make up the community of Boston and this is another way in which we can achieve this.”
Debbie Broadley, of Boston Dementia Action Alliance, said she is excited to see PCSO Grant’s hard work nearing its launch.
She said:”This initiative is an amazing example of what can be achieved when someone has a vision and we work together to realise this. I would like to wish everyone involved good luck. There will be challenges ahead but I can’t wait to hear some great success stories. Well done Nigel.”
Inspector Fran Harrod, Boston Neighbourhood Policing Inspector, said officers are called to help families in the most difficult and dangerous of situations, like when those living with dementia go missing or are in crisis.
She said:”This project hopes to increase wellbeing, guard against loneliness and to protect against vulnerability whilst giving those living with dementia in our community the opportunity to get involved in something incredibly worthwhile for themselves and others.
“It is typical of Boston that PCSO Nigel Grant’s idea and hard work has drawn a hugely positive response from everyone that has been approached and that so many wonderful organisations are involved. I have no doubt that in working together on this initiative, we can change many lives for the better.”
Dr Stephanie Armstrong, senior lecturer in health quality improvement and programme leader at the university of Lincoln, said: “Supporting the local community is a vital aspect of the University ethos and helping students to understand how initiatives such as this one can positively impact on everyone involved is an important lesson both as part of their studies and for their future practice in the workplace.”
Contact details for more information are as follows:
- Boston United FC – email email@example.com or call 01205 364406
- Centenary Church – email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or ring 07503 486107
- Cafe Noglish – email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07423 123862
- Boston Stump – email email@example.com or telephone 01205 310929
- Restore Church – email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01205 837209