The Meeting Centre Support Programme UK National Reference Group

Spring has sprung, which means we’re well and truly moving through 2019. I can’t believe it’s April already (how did that happen?), but it does mean that it was time for the second meeting of the Meeting Centre Support Programme UK National Reference Group last week.

After a welcome by Professor Dawn Brooker which included an overview of the variety of people included in the group, Dr Shirley Evans  provided a project update to get the group up to speed on where we’ve got to.


To summarise, a lot has happened!

  • There have been many enquiries and expressions of interest in developing Meeting Centres, and it’s definitely gaining traction and momentum. One of our main challenges with the number of enquiries is trying to work out where places are – geography is not necessarily our strong point!
  • The Pioneer Workshops are going well, with several more planned or in the pipeline (link to website with list).
  • We’ll be delivering monthly webinars about the project and setting up a newsletter to keep people up to date with progress.
  • Our first training has been delivered in Kirriemuir, Scotland to support the planned opening of their Meeting Centre in May.
  • Data collection tools have been developed and will be piloted with some of our existing and emerging Meeting Centres.

Basically, we’re on track and making good progress – which is always reassuring!

Our first discussion topic explored the ‘essential features of a Meeting Centres’ to show what makes something a Meeting Centre and how it differs from other types of care. For people who don’t know about Meeting Centres, this can often be tricky to get your head around, but trying to define it on paper is just as difficult!

We had some good discussions about the various elements of Meeting Centres such as location, inclusion criteria and workforce requirements, and it was great to have people living with dementia from Innovations in Dementia to keep us grounded and focused on what really matters. Trying to strike the right balance of a standardised approach and not being too prescriptive is the ultimate goal, all we have to do is work out how to achieve this. Answers on a postcard please…

Following a sandwich lunch, Claire Fry from NHS England  and Graham Galloway provided overviews of the dementia care pathways in England and Scotland. Professor Rose-Marie Dröes , who originated Meeting Centres in the Netherlands, also shared her perspective of the Dutch dementia care pathway. This set us up nicely for the afternoon discussions around where Meeting Centres fit in with the dementia care pathway in the UK and when they are/are not appropriate.

We’ve now got lots of views and thoughts to compile, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Thank you to everyone who joined us as part of the group and made it such a successful day.

Have you got any Meeting Centre related news or activities that you think we should know about? Get in touch using twitter (@MeetingCentres), the ADS Facebook page  or email us at

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