Triumphs for C&SW member Able Care at GBCA Event

AbleCare Homes would like to congratulate to all of their finalists at The Great British Care Awards South West Region who attended a fabulous awards evening at Ashton Gate on 16 November 2018. The finalists were:
AbleCare Homes - Care Employer
Teresa Silverthorne - Registered Manager
Ellie Holloway - Frontline Worker
Amelia Brooks - Care Newcomer
Alex Follett - Care Newcomer
James Taylor - Frontline Leader
Jayne Bowman - Care Trainer
Leanne Thorne - Putting People First
The Crossley House Team
The Frenchay House Team

Extra special congratulations go to Alex Follett who works as an apprentice at Frenchay House.  After winning the Care Apprentice Award at the C&SW event in October she has gone on to win the Care Newcomer Award for the South West. Alex wasn’t able to make it to collect her trophy in person and so it was picked up by her Manager, Leanne. Next step - The National Finals!! 

Everyone thoroughly enjoyed a lively evening which featured a special appearance from former X Factor star, Chico with singing, dancing and photo opportunities galore.

AbleCare Homes Director, Sam Hawker, says ‘It goes to show what a great team we have with so many being selected in the top of the South West for providing such good care.   I am very proud of them all.’

Making the Most of Community Links

At our General Meeting in November, looking at Community Links, Winash shared a project they were pursuing in Clevedon, North Somerset alongside Wyldwood Arts (met at an earlier C&SW General Meeting).

They discovered last January that they had been awarded nearly £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund for an intergenerational Arts project called “Communi-tree”

By November they have set up weekly intergenerational sessions with many local groups:

  • Rydal Nursery

  • YMCA

  • Ravenswood Special School

  • St Nicholas Chantry School

  • Brownies

  • 1st Clevedon Beavers

  • 2nd Clevedon Beavers

  • Rock 11 Clevedon

At the end of November they had a Bring & Share Supper and Presentation evening with live music and friendship inviting everyone who had participated along with their families.

The impacts and benefits definitely go two ways. One initiative involved 6 children from St nicholas Chantry finding penpals amongst the residents and writing to them. Henry who doesn’t have an older grandparent appears to have adopted his pen pal as a substitute and he and his Dad visit twice a month.

The manager at Winash, Heather House, comments that a real highlight has been watching the interactions and listening to the conversations “It has been an amazing journey, with the coming together the highlight, the conversations triggered, the smiles on faces, the chats that followed about the session, the improved well being by introducing children regularly into Winash, and having fun times together”

Training for LD / Autism

Two courses being offered for people working with clients with learning difficulties and autism.

Reducing Restrictive Practices (download flyer)

Working together: Improving lives for people with a learning disability or autism who have or may offend (download flyer)

Reducing Restrictive Practices: Training from Avon and Wiltshire Positive Behaviour Support Network, For people who support individuals with a learning disability who have challenging behaviour 8th February 2019

Updated Guidance, Facilitated by Tracy Cox and Wendy Wright,  University of the West of England, Glenside Campus, Blackberry Hill, Stapleton, Bristol, BS16 1DD. Map

Room number:  1C02 ;  Time: 9.30-12.00 (inclusive of 30-minute coffee break/network); Free car park available with parking permit from reception on arrival;

This is a free event - to book a place email: or

For more information about the network visit: ; Find us on Facebook, or contact Alan Nuttall 0117 9709388

Working together: Improving lives for people with a learning disability or autism who have or may offend

Come and meet with organisations from across the South West of England who work with people who have a learning disability or autism or both, and who have offended or are at risk of offending.   At our interactive event, you will learn more about the processes and responsibilities of different agencies, hear about what works and examples of best practice, and take part in discussions around some of the challenges of delivering good support to people at risk of entering the Criminal Justice system.

  • How do we identify barriers, share perceptions of risk and overcome the concerns in order to support people out of hospital or prison?

  • What are the frameworks for discharge or release, and who is responsible for what?

  • How can we support people with learning disabilities and/or autism who have committed offences stay in or move back into communities in ways that are safe for them and others?

This event is for Care Provider Organisations who support people with a learning disability and, or autism. It is jointly hosted and supported by Skills for Care, the Local Government Association and NHS England - Transforming Care support programme

Date: 27th February 2019; Time: 10.00am to 15.30pm; Venue: Taunton

Please book you place using the booking link :

Compliance with Biocidal Products and Crib5 Fire regulations

New Commercial Partner ‘Select Agencies’ specialise in beds, mattresses. upholstery and cabinets.

They offer exceptional beds that are guaranteed to comply with biocidal regulations and fire regulations as well as offering a very comfortable night’s sleep for the elderly, the infirm, and those with allergies. Their investigations indicate that local companies purchase from local bed retailers, often with an urgent ‘must have delivery today’ scenarios, but products often do not meet the requirements of Crib 5, nor the biocidal regulations.

The key elements of their Staingard & Sanitized range are:

·         Developed by Protected Mattresses & Beds Ltd’, these are unique to the UK market and have taken over two years to develop

·         Each mattress/bed set comes with a 5-year Care Plan/Warranty and a proper cotton ‘Mattressgard’ mattress protector, not a simple piece of cotton fabric purporting to be a mattress protector.

  • Our Staingard treatment provides a ‘bonded’ and permanent treatment preventing staining from materials such as blood, urine, bodily fluids, wine, coffee etc.

  • Our Sanitized treatment (formulation TH 27-24) meets all of the current Biocidal Product Regulations and  is certified by Allergy UK  to prevent

    • Dust Mites and therefore dust mite allergens,

    • Odour and Mould and

    • Effective against E.coli and MRSA and

  • All the Polyester and Natural mattresses/beds come with a Crib 5/Contract fire certificate rating, providing suitability for Care Homes, Nursing Homes, Sheltered Housing and Housing Associations , Retirement Complexes.

 In addition, Select Agencies offer the protection of  Staingard, the UK’s leading stain treatment company with circa 1.8 million UK customers:

·         Should one of your customers have a perceived stain, that they cannot clean with clear water and a cotton cloth they can contact Staingard who will send one of their Homecare technicians to industrially remove any stain.

·         Should the Homecare technician be unable to remove the offending stain, then they will sanction and organise a ‘free’ (same specification) mattress replacement via yourselves and Shakespeare Beds.

 Contact for further information.

Simon Rexworthy FInstSMM

Barbara Harris
UKHCA Assessment of Home Care Costs

The cost of delivering homecare from April 2018 increases with new rates of the National Minimum Wage and employers’ minimum contribution to workplace pensions.

UKHCA has published the latest update to our authoritative “Minimum Price for Homecare”, with a new figure of £18.93 per hour from April 2019.

This will allow for full compliance with the National Minimum Wage and the delivery of sustainable homecare services to local authorities in Great Britain, the NHS and the health and social care trusts in Northern Ireland.

Equivalent figures for the Scottish Living Wage, the UK Living Wage and the London Living Wage are also included.

UKHCA’s Policy Director, Colin Angel, said:

"It is essential that a viable regulated homecare sector is available to support the care of older and disabled people who choose to remain at home. The prices councils pay for care must cover the costs of the workforce, including - as a minimum - full-compliance with statutory minimum wage levels and the costs of running a regulated care service. Providers to the statutory sector are operating in fragile market where underfunding homecare is leading to market failure and withdrawal.

A copy of “A Minimum Price for Homecare, Version 6.0” can be downloaded from the UKHCA website. 

UKHCA Policy and Campaigns Team

Supporting Essential Training from BNSSG CEPN

Care & Support West work hard to build relationships with key players in the sector. We have been wworking with the recently formed BNSSG, the joint commissioning unit for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. They will be listing their programmes on the Care & Support West Training Portal

In the meantime here are three programmes which offer essential training for people working in the community and in Care Homes.




CITATION: Essential Information, Brexit and Beyond

Braced for Brexit? Here's the roadmap you need...

From myth busting to practical downloads to help you action changes, our Brexit hub will help you navigate your businesses way through Brexit over the next few months:


Five innovative ways to communicate your 2019 strategy to your team

How do you get your team to be as enthusiastic about this year's plans as you are? Read our 5 easy-to-achieve ways to effectively communicate your strategy to the whole team:



45 things you need to know about fire

Did you know all these things about fire? Read up - we can almost guarantee there will be something new for you to learn:


On the road in the cold: safety tips for employees

Whether it’s for their commute or part of their job, if your employees are on the road you should be communicating certain safety practices. Watch our short video to find out more:



Employee fatalities: how to handle the unthinkable

We've taken a step-by-step look at what you need to do - and when - if you find yourself facing an employee fatality.



Banter: what do you do when it goes too far?

The word 'banter' is thrown about a lot these days, but one person's banter can be another person's bullying. Here's what to do if the line is crossed.


 If there’s something you need which is not provided above, just let me know. We’re always happy to help where we can.

Offers from Altura Learning

ALTURA Learning is the new name for ACC, Commercial Partners of some standing. They offer a fantastic range of on-line film based training videos all based in real care environments, and have recently launched their new Bridge learning platform.

To find out more about about how Bridge from Altura can help your organisation and to book a free demonstration, please click here.

The new Altura Learning 2019 Course Schedule  is now available.  It’s also at this time of year that we say goodbye to some Retired Courses.  

We are also pleased to share with you our NEW Digital Library that will replace our annual printed posters.

 So…How does it work? Well, it’s very simple & intuitive! You can now view and print our catalogue directly from here:

  • Step 1: Select your country, library type and start the search.

  • Step 2: The entire course library list is populated. From here, you can click on the upcoming courses tab to get the 2019 course schedule or use the search functionality and filters if you are after a specific course(s). To print your selection, simply use the printer icon.

  • Step 3: Click on a course to get more information and watch the trailer.

Here is some information about new courses on offer

A recently filmed addition to the portfolio is ‘Confidentiality and Information Handling’. This has been filmed across 3 streams, Residential, Home Care and Disability. The residential part of the film was filmed at Lyndon House, St Alban’s, home of the Salvation Army, an NCF member and a valuable member of the Altura Learning community.

A popular and very useful course is Preparing for an Inspection’, supported by Jill Timms, Care Consultant in Oxfordshire, who offers guidance to anyone needing help with preparation for CQC / LA Inspections.
A qualified Nurse, Jill became a successful Manager of an Oxfordshire Nursing Home for many years, progressing to Area Manager for that Care Home Group; Peverel Court Care. Whilst still working at Peverel Court Care, Jill decided she needed a new challenge, so set up a consultancy: “Helping Manager’s Manage”.

Jill developed her consultancy, mainly around the subjects of CQC Hot Topics of Inspection, Preparation for Inspections and Quality Monitoring, with the development of a Quality Monitoring Toolkit.

Jill has provided some handy ‘top tips’ that you can ‘cut out and keep’ when preparing for an inspection, helping you and your teams take out the pressure of preparing for an inspection.

Click here to view the tips online and to watch Altura’s free video on preparing for an inspection. 

 To find out more about how Jill Timms Consultancy can help you and your care home, please visit - or email

 For more information on how you can prepare for your inspection, please click here.

To find out more information about Altura Learning, please visit our website or email us at

Power Direct: Energy Saving Basket

The power of collective buying: Can your business benefit from an energy buying basket?

An energy buying basket is when a collective of businesses group together to purchase their energy. The collective can be comprised of businesses of any size from any industry who want to leverage economies of scale to gain more competitive energy prices.

Power Direct Ltd has been successfully running energy buying baskets since 2017, and customers are benefitting in many ways.

Buying basket benefits

·         Save time

The huge number of suppliers in the market and the variety of contracts available can make the presentation of the future costs of your energy difficult to compare.

Our basket process means we search the market for the best prices and present them in a standardised format, allowing for a clear comparison.

It can also be time consuming completing all the paperwork that goes with a new energy contract. Due to the large number of people involved in the basket purchasing, we take care of the contract paperwork on participants’ behalf, removing one more hassle.


·         Save money

Basket prices are usually more competitive than prices for individual sites, because they are based on the group’s collective consumption, and suppliers compete to win the business of the group’s overall consumption. However, all participants’ sites will be priced individually during the week before the basket close date, and these prices will be communicated on the close day. This means that the best individual price for your site(s) will be compared to the basket price, allowing you to make a comparison and an informed decision on the best way forward for your business. We will only place you in contracts that we believe are in your favour. Therefore, if the price isn’t advantageous on the day, we will make a recommendation of an alternative price where possible, or we’ll advise you to wait to secure your next contract.


·         Seamless and hassle free

Businesses that have multiple sites can include all of them within the basket purchase, meaning a single contract, single renewal date and single point of contact across your business, making it easier to manage.


·         Peace of mind

Prices will be fully fixed and inclusive for two years, giving budget certainty. In a volatile market with highly fluctuating prices and Brexit uncertainty, you can be confident that your energy prices will remain stable.

The Power Direct Ltd electricity and gas baskets are open now to any business with a contract end date on or before 30.09.2020.

For more information about the buying basket process, see About our buying basket. And if you would like to explore whether you could gain from the power of group buying, or for anything else to do with your energy, call one of our friendly energy experts today on 0333 1234 313.

Barbara Harris
The CQC Portal and PIR: voice your concerns

As members of the Care Association Alliance, we can bring you information about the recent Adult Social Care Trade Association meeting with Ian Trenholm, the new CQC Chief executive: Notes here ; discussion points below.

The next meeting will discuss the unreliability of the CQC portal and challenges with the PIR document. If you have concerns. then please send them to us using the form below:

Discussions included: 
# good data management is a key indicator of good leadership and management;
# making CQC and easier organisation to do business with
# CQC role of market oversight  

Name *
Provider Engagement from CQC

At the end of January CQC will be launching their Annual Provider Survey. This will go out to approximately 70% of providers as a web survey with all responses being anonymous. This year we will be adding a series of additional questions we’d like to get your views on before finalising the survey.

They would find it very helpful if you could spare the time to complete this short survey and are ideally looking for views by the 21st January.

Innovation Funding Bid for Nurses from BNSSG CEPN

BNSSG CEPN are inviting bids for three Innovation Funding Awards, each of which is valued at £4,500. Download a flyer here

To be successful, applicants must devise an innova-tive approach to further integrate working across nursing in BNSSG’s primary, community, and nursing home settings.

Projects which look to patients as the focus for im-proved collaboration and integration will be favoured.

If you wish to find out more, please get in touch with

When is this happening? If you’re reading this, you can apply. The closing date for applications is Thursday, 28 February, 2019.

How to apply: To receive the application pack, please send a message expressing your interest to

EU EXIT: Operational Guidance for No Deal outcome.

Whilst the Government is working to develop an acceptable deal for Brexit, in line with the Government’s principal operational focus on national ‘no deal’ planning, actions must now be taken locally to manage the risks of a ‘no deal’ exit. Documents relating to this can be found on our Members Resources pages. They can also be found here

Cover letter from Sir Christopher Wormold

Guidance Document

Guidance from Bristol City Council

Care & Support West 2019 Care Awards: Nominate Now!

The 2019 Care Awards Nomination Process is now open. There are revised categories to help recognise the growing number of people who care via direct payments and to recognise the role of the education sector in Care training.

Go to our Nominations Page on our website to see

  • the Award Categories

  • the judging criteria

  • the online nomination form

  • get a download of the nomination form.

  • information on helping to spread the word!

Nominate now to show your colleagues and staff that you really do appreciate them

Changes to C&SW DBS checking process


This document is also available as a download here

C&SW has traditionally carried out DBS (and previously CRB) checks for many of its members using a paper-based model and the royal mail system of transfer between the provider, DBS office and the C&SW provider of the process Care Futures. For some years now, it has been possible to carry out DBS checks using an “On-Line” mechanism via the internet. The major advantage of the on-line model is that application results can be with the provider much quicker and in some cases within 48 hours. Care Futures will no longer be able to offer the paper-based system from January 1st 2019 so we have researched a range of alternatives for members to use all of which use an on-line process.

Below you will find two models for your consideration – the first is one whereby you engage directly with an on-line company yourself to carry out all your own DBS application processes (just contact them via the web link shown) and the second is one where you join a local organisation which in effect replicates the work Care Futures did on your behalf but uses an on-line model. Both models offer phone support and will be able to help you manage the new way of managing DBS applications quickly and well.

Doing the work directly yourself ---- Three companies to explore


Registration (One-off) £19:95 + Vat

Enhanced application     (direct 1:1 care work)                     £52.00

Standard application       (admn/back office staff)                               £35.40

Volunteer (Enhanced or standard) (non-paid staff)          £10.40  

UCheck is an online solution that lets you easily run checks on job applicants. Enter the applicant’s details just once, select which particular checks you need and get quick results. No more endless waiting, no more having to use different systems for different checks. Only need a DBS check or one other type of check? UCheck pay as you go pricing means it’s still cost effective and you’ll benefit from the speed of using UCheck for making checks online.


Registration free

Enhanced application     (direct 1:1 care work)                     £56.00

Standard application       (admn/back office staff)                               £38.00

Volunteer (Enhanced or standard) (non-paid staff)          £12.00  

Free registration and full setup within 15 minutes! Register your organisation now for the provision of criminal record checks with Care Check. Apply now for your Basic, Standard and Enhanced level DBS disclosures. Click here to manage your employees/volunteer DBS checks.

Registration free

Enhanced application     (direct 1:1 care work)                     £72.80

Standard application       (admn/back office staff)                               £54.80

Volunteer (Enhanced or standard) (non-paid staff)          £Not known      

Getting a DBS check online is fast, simple, and straightforward. With just one simple form to complete, our DBS application service is conducted online in a matter of minutes.

 Doing the work via Avon Local Medical Committee (LMC) Disclosure & Barring Service

Contact:               Pauline Jenkins

HR Adviser, Avon LMC

14a High Street, Staple Hill

Bristol BS16 5HP

T: 0117 9702755


 Enhanced application     (direct 1:1 care work)                     £60.00

Standard application       (admn/back office staff)                               £42.00

Volunteer (Enhanced or standard) (non-paid staff)          £16.00  

Process Start-up

1.       C&SW Care provider registers with Avon LMC (free of charge)

e.g. Care Home, Nursing Home, Dom Care Org, Supported Living Org

2.       C&SW Care provider gains Login code via registration to make applications

3.       C&SW Care provider now ready to process DBS applications

 DBS process

a)      LMC registered C&SW Care provider accesses DBS application form via login process  

b)      C&SW Care provider sends form to Applicant to complete

c)       Info on completed form verified by C&SW Care provider

d)      C&SW Care provider sends completed accurate form to Avon LMC DBS team

e)      LMC team checks form info is accurate and appropriately verified

f)       LMC team send completed accurate form to DBS Application company


The decision members will need to make depends greatly on the availability of IT systems in their Care Home or Dom Care office settings and the expertise of management staff to use them. It is however a truth that we all now use the internet in one way or another so moving to using it to gain a quicker result for the important matter of DBS application results is crucial in the era of tricky staff recruitment processes. The cost of the LMC model is close to that which members have been paying for the C&SW process and the costs involved with two of the three direct companies is less than the current fees organisations have needed to pay.

 Need help?

Please, if after reading this document you need advice or guidance please come back to me and I will see if I can support you.


Free "Human Factor" Training For Home Care Providers

C&SW member Jane Redman, owner of BS Healthcare, has been involved in an exciting venture developing ‘Human Factor’ Training in conjunction with the BNSSG Community Education Provider Network (CEPN). The project recognises the value of Home Care Providers in helping service users to remain well at home.

Amongst other things, the training will look at:

  • Identifying Frailty

  • Identifying ‘The deteriorating patient’

  • Identifying risk factors for the prevention of pressure injury.

There are 3 training days across the BNSSG area. Download the flyer for dates and further details

Members NewsBarbara Harris
State of Health Care and Adult Social Care in England 2107 / 18

Here is a summary of the summary of key findings; you can find the whole reports here:

It would be interesting to get feedback from local providers as to how they feel this reflects our local market. Comments are enabled below. Please feel free!

Three Key Findings.

  1. Most people receive a good quality of care: and overall quality has been maintained despite challenges

  2. Quality is not consistent: depends on type of care, where you live and how joined up services are.

  3. Individual providers offering good care is not enough. Good sustainable high quality care is about successful collaboration between services as part of an effective local system.

CQC outline and describe the 5 factors that affect sustainability

  • Access: varies; family and friends bridge the gap; need to travel for in-patient mental health; variable access to GP services; increasingly stretched workforce

  • Quality of care: slight improvement overall. Hallmarks of quality care are Good leadership and governance; strong organisational culture; Good partnership working

  • Workforce: right workforce is crucial but most services struggle to recruit, retain and develop.

  • Capacity: demand continues to rise: services need to plan together to meet predicted needs

  • Funding and commissioning: challenges are well documented. 32% Directors Adult Social care have seen providers closing in the past 6 months. No long term solution in sight for adult social care; geographic variations in council payments

Introducing a New Member Blue Sky Enabling

Blue Sky Enabling is a provider of domiciliary support across BANES and Wiltshire. We pride ourselves on providing high quality flexible live-in and person-centered services to adults of all ages living with impairments, mental health issues and/or disabilities. The company is dedicated to ensuring that all of the people that we work with are supported to live their lives in a way that promotes: choice, enjoyment, empowerment and safety.

The Registered Manager, Rachel Eades, has been working with Blue Sky Enabling for 6 years after completing a Psychology Degree in Bath. She has been acting as Registered Manager for nearly a year and in July supported the company to achieve a ‘Good’ CQC rating. Currently studying for her MSc in Health and Social Care, Rachel is excited and passionate about the service Blue Sky Enabling provides and strives for continuous improvement to achieve the highest quality of care possible.

Our Core Values:  

Building Trust, Developing Lives, Empowering People, Inspiring Passion

We believe that ‘Life is for Living’ and by embedding our values in everything we do we aim to assist our service users to remain living in their own homes, engage in activities and maintain relationships in a way that they choose.

So, what is ‘enabling’?

We believe enabling is the only way to provide support that builds on people strengths and never focuses on their disability or the things they are unable to do. Enabling is a way of working alongside people at their own pace, focusing on building people’s capacities, positive experiences and successful outcomes.

How is ‘enabling’ different?

-         Enabling deals with people’s conditions in a way that considers the person as a whole and complete human being.

-         Enabling services do things WITH people rather than FOR them; always encouraging independence and enhancing self-esteem.

-         Enabling see tasks such as cooking, cleaning and personal care as steps toward achieving wider goals such as going to a social group, theatre, shopping or chatting to a friend etc.

How we can help you:

Blue Sky Enabling would offer you or your loved ones the opportunity to live at home rather than going into residential care. Our company focuses on the importance of having a place that feels like home. So as far as possible we concentrate on making your home a livable space again without alterations. By utilizing the skills of our Enablers, you would be helped to ensure all daily activities become fun and enjoyable again.

Whatever your needs are, we have an enabler that will suit the situation.

15 minute visit? No thank you!

Nobody likes to rush through their daily routine. It is for this reason that we offer our support services with a minimum of a 2-hour visit. Our members of staff are there to guide and enable our service users to do things for themselves – even if this takes twice as long. We believe that the sense of independence, achievement and the boost to their self-esteem individuals get from being self-sufficient is much too important to rush a 15-minute visit and not provide this opportunity.  Therefore, where it is safe to do so our service users do things with our enablers, rather than our enablers doing things for our service users.

The right person at the right time:

We take our responsibility to recruit, train, supervise, develop and monitor staff very seriously; our aim is to have happy, passionate and competent staff working with every service user. We keep staff teams small, to include only 2-4 members of staff so that service users always know who to expect at the front door, and each member of staff gets to know their service user’s likes, dislikes and habits well.

Our Management Team ensure that everyone that we employ enters the right job role with the right attitude. We know that to support someone, enable that person, and make it possible for them to enjoy their life to the fullest take’s dedication and hard work. We ensure that all of the staff are on board with strong organisational culture of respect and equality.

Blue Sky Enabling go that extra mile to ensure that our staff have an affinity with the people that they help to support. That they have something in common, that they understand each-other, and can coexist together and grow together to provide the higher quality of support possible.

Barbara Harris
Dementia: Free Conversation Cards from Alive

Older people’s charity, Alive, has launched a free resource that offers conversation ideas and advice to help relatives, friends or carers in their relationships with people who are living with dementia.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most feared disease for British people over the age of 60. 58% of people say they feel they would struggle to be able to join in conversations2, and for families the idea of ‘losing’ the person they know and love can be heart-breaking.

Alive is the UK’s leading charity enriching the lives of older people in care and training their carers to engage in meaningful ways. Not only do we often see people living with dementia become socially isolated, lonely and depressed through lack of engagement, but all too often the families and friends of loved ones can feel alone too, knowing that their relationships are going to change. It can sometimes be hard for people to know what to say or do. But evidence from Exeter University suggests that just 10 minutes of meaningful conversation per day can have a positive impact on older people’s wellbeing1.

Based on delivering many thousands of creative and arts-based activity sessions for older people and talking to carers and loved ones since being founded in 2009, Alive realised there was a limited number of resources available to help build conversations with people living with dementia. Families said that those free resources available tend to be text heavy, confusing and overwhelming, while more appealing resources come at a cost many cannot afford.

Alive’s free resource pack contains pages of illustrations and ideas that anyone can use as simple conversation prompts with their loved one. The questions are themed around specific interests like gardening, school, travel, and music; topics that everyone can relate to. Designed by Alive’s specialist team, the conversation cards enable people living with dementia to recall and share memories more confidently.

The cards were piloted with people living with dementia and their families, friends, carers and care groups, and feedback from the trial was overwhelmingly positive.

 Families reported that the questions “prompted humour, memory-searching, emotion but mostly pleasure and pride” (Janet, wife of Pete who is living with dementia). They allowed people to find out more about a person’s life and feel closer to them at a time when, so often, families feel like they are losing the person they knew.

 Alive’s CEO Simon Bernstein says “Helping people with dementia to stay connected to the people around them is key to their happiness and quality of life. As dementia develops it can become harder and harder for people with the disease to interact and converse with family members and friends who may also feel ill-equipped to cope. This can lead to people living with the disease feeling alone, socially isolated and may result in their gradual withdrawal from ordinary interactions. Often, family members may experience feelings of guilt and helplessness as a result. We hope this free resource will support those with dementia, their loved ones and carers, to feel closer, providing an enjoyable way to share special memories and experiences together at a time when it matters most.”

 The cards are available as a free downloadable pdf from the Alive website from the 27th September

The charity is asking people for voluntary donations to support its aim to light up the lives of many more older people.


1.       Exeter WHELD research

2.      Dementia Statistics Hub, Alzheimer’s Research UK

 For further information about Alive please see:


Barbara Harris
Free Mental Health Training

Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership is offering free mental health first aid training as part of the Healthier Together (formerly BNSSG) STP work. 

There are 3 separate programmes; more information and course dates can be found below:

Mental Health First Aid Awareness

Mental Health First Aid 1 Day Champion

Mental Health First Aid 2 Day

An indication of suitability for different groups of workers can be found here

Target Groups