Inclusive Communities

How can we help people with a dementia participate in community life?

Over 850,000 people live with a dementia in the UK today, with numbers set to rise ¹. With greater pressure to help people live well with the condition at home, new challenges emerge in how people’s care needs can be met in their own communities. Those needs include access to the same facilities, services, and opportunities as everyone else. For example, access to heritage sites and activities offers an important route to wellbeing outcomes for those with a dementia diagnosis. Yet, exclusion is common, reflecting stigma attached to the condition and a lack of opportunities to participate fully in community life. These opportunities should respond to the needs, interests, and capabilities of those with a dementia diagnosis, rather than be designed for someone with dementia – a critical position in person-centred care today.

1 Alzheimer’s Research UK. Dementia Statistics Hub. Available at

A Wicked Problem

classic wicked problem, the question of how to support those with dementia in community life looks very different when working from the needs of an individual, a family, a community, or from the perspective of anyone with a dementia (where ever they may be). A clumsy solution might ask how individuals (including those with a dementia) can be empowered to shape local responses, harness community capital, and reveal where local action might be scaled across a region and beyond. With this in mind, supersum has approached the UK Meeting Centres programme run by the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) at the University of Worcester. Meeting Centres (operating across Europe) support people living with mild-to-moderate dementia to cope with the transitions dementia brings. We believe that Meeting Centres are uniquely well-placed to tackle the challenge of building dementia-inclusive communities.

“Globally, the numbers of people living with dementia will increase from 50m in 2018 to 152m in 2050, a 204% increase”

Alzheimer’s Research UK. Dementia Statistics Hub. Available at


The Story So Far

Building on the success of Dementia Connect, we are now working closely with Leominster Meeting Centre (LMC) in Herefordshire to drive innovative new forms of engagement with heritage in the region for people with a dementia diagnosis. Our project – Heritage Pathfinders – will support local heritage professionals and creative practitioners to take up residency at LMC and immerse themselves in the lives and experiences of its members. An £18K ‘seedcorn’ fund will then support the co-design of new projects with members that can demonstrate a path towards sustainable delivery and routes to scale. Launching in February 2021, Heritage Pathfinders is a partnership between LMC, supersum, and ADS – funded by The Tudor Trust.

Our Approach


Broaden the range of heritage partners active in Meeting Centre life


Drive heritage innovation projects within the 'adjusting to change' model


Support Meeting Centre members to actively lead in project developments


Equip the Meeting Centre with new assets for future funding bids

Project Partners


supersum Projects

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