Pioneer Workshops – Helping you find out more about Meeting Centres

The Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) has been involved in the development of Meeting Centres for a number of years now, and since September 2018 they’ve been working on a new project ( to help local communities across the UK to set up Meeting Centres in their areas.

Can you just remind me what a Meeting Centre is?

No problem. Meeting Centres are an innovative way of supporting people with mild to moderate dementia and their families through an evidence-based, person-centred approach and offer an enjoyable, flexible and adaptive programme of activities and support. They are a great low-cost community-based way of supporting people living with dementia and their families that have been successfully implemented in the Netherlands for over ten years and in the UK for over three years.

Meeting Centres have already attracted a great deal of interest from different parts of the UK. They could be a good practical application for DAAs and Dementia Friendly Communities who want to make a difference within their local area.

Got it. So how will a Pioneer Workshop help?

ADS has funding to run a number of Pioneer Workshops across the UK during 2019 to help people think about and plan how a Meeting Centre might work in their community.

In each workshop they’ll be looking to cover a range of topics:

  • The background to Meeting Centres, including a bit about their history, the underlying principles and ethos, and the adjusting-to-change approach.
  • How to run a Community Engagement Event
  • How to set up a Meeting Centre Planning Group of interested stakeholders.
  • Creating an implementation plan –
    • Who your target group is (who will attend the Meeting Centre)
    • The programme of activities (for people with dementia, for carers, for the wider community)
    • Finance (funding and sustainability)
    • Finding a good location
    • Protocol and collaboration between stakeholders
    • Staffing and training
    • PR and marketing (reaching out to participants and referrers)


That’s a full programme, how long does a Pioneer Workshop last?

Registration will open from 10am, with the workshop starting at 10.30am. A buffet lunch will be provided, with the workshop ending at 2.30pm. However, members of the Meeting Centre project team will be available to answer to any remaining questions until 3pm. By the way, did I mention that the Pioneer Workshops are free to attend?

Free? Great. Hang on though, I bet there won’t be one anywhere near me.

The first Pioneer Workshop takes place 26th March here in Worcester (booking details can be found here (, but to try and reach as many people as possible they are planning to hold workshops in different parts of the UK including:

  • North West of England
  • Northern Ireland
  • Yorkshire/North East of England
  • London and South East of England
  • South West of England
  • Doncaster
  • Scotland
  • Wales

Ok, I admit that most of those locations are slightly vague at the moment, but there will be more  details of dates and venues coming up. If you think a particular location would be useful, why not let me know. I can’t make any promises but it won’t hurt to ask! If you are interested in attending any of these – or want to get in touch about possible locations – please contact

Hope to see you at a Pioneer Workshop soon!

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