Helping grass roots dementia carers organisations get back on their feet after the pandemic

Evidence suggests that staying social, physically active and creative can improve the health of our brains. Read about how our carers expert reference group are helping fund opportunities for carers to stay connected and active

If you care for someone living with dementia you are likely to need support yourself at some point. This support could come in many forms, respite opportunities, peer support groups or access to creative and leisure activities. Alongside staying social, evidence also suggests that remaining physically active and engaging in creative pursuits can improve our overall wellbeing and the health of our brains. So, having access to these opportunities is important for those caring for a loved one living with dementia.

Dementia United’s Dementia Carers Groups Bounce Back Fund was launched in Dec 2021 to support people living with dementia and their carers who were disproportionately affected by the Covid 19 Pandemic.

We wanted to help grass roots dementia carers organisations to help carers get back on their feet after this difficult time.  We aimed to help as many people as possible by offering one-off grants of up to £1200 to carers organisations across Greater Manchester.  Our mantra was “Small Investment – Big Impact!”

From day one, the project was led by our dementia carers expert reference group (DCERG) who oversee all our governance processes and ensure that all Dementia United’s work has the carers voice at the heart.

We also needed to ensure that funds were accessible to everyone so we ran a number of virtual ‘drop in’ sessions where potential applicants could discuss their ideas and ask questions prior to applying.  The Dementia Leads in each locality were key to the project’s success in promoting the fund to their local support services whilst our DCERG members promoted the fund within their own regions and supported groups with their individual applications.

In total, we funded 22 innovative and varied projects across all ten localities in Greater Manchester.  We supported postal arts projects, pamper sessions, mindfulness classes, days out on the canal and trips to RHS Bridgewater, Easter parties, Jubilee tea parties, singing and dancing events, numerous live entertainment sessions and much, much more.  We’ve been able to fund dementia cafes who had not met for two years as well as some completely new groups, including for people who had been newly diagnosed with dementia in lockdown.  We also supported existing groups to extend their services, such as Together Dementia Support’s Wellbeing offer for South Asian carers and Bolton Dementia Support’s awareness raising videos in Gujarati and Hindi.

We had a wonderful day on The New Horizons Canal Boat.  We provided a minibus from Bury to Marple and then cruised the Macclesfield Canal.  Lunch was individual afternoon tea boxes.   The feedback was amazing and we really saw the difference it made by the smiles on everyone’s faces.  Jayne Harrison, Bury Carers Hub

From the start, we took care to align the Bounce Back Fund with Dementia United and Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership’s priorities, including:

  • Tackling inequalities and transforming population health
  • Strengthening the focus on wellbeing, including greater focus on prevention and population health
  • Continuing to redress the balance of care to move it closer to home where possible

We’ll be publishing a full report on all aspects of the Bounce Back Fund later in the year so watch out for that and follow us on Twitter @DementiaUnited for all our latest dementia carer news and much more.  If you’re a current or previous carer of someone living with dementia and would like to get involved, please contact for more information.  We’re always looking for new ‘experts by experience’ to join DCERG or advise on one of our many and varied projects within the dementia programme across Greater Manchester Health & Social Care Partnership.