Dementia Friendly Churches Focus and Awareness Day

First published 1st August 2023

On the 8th July 2023 62 people from the Fromeside benefice and the Yate Mission area gathered at St Saviours church hall for a Dementia Friendly Churches Focus and Awareness day. 

St Michael’s, Winterbourne, had been involved in a pilot to become a dementia friendly church pre-Covid. Mary Fordham, who was very much the driving force in achieving this, started the day by explaining the process the church went through to become a dementia friendly church.

Leanne Parkes from the Diocese and Adam Biddlestone from the Methodist circuit ran sessions on Becoming Dementia Aware and Being a Dementia Friendly Church and Val Slade, the benefice Safeguarding Lead, ran a very informative safeguarding session, drawing on her own experience of family living with dementia. There was also input and resources available from the Alzheimer’s Society, Bristol, Dementia Action Alliance and Southern Brooks Community Partnership. After lunch Leanne Parkes explained the self-review kit and the new certification process and then the churches had open discussions in church groups to start planning the way forward. Father Malcolm Strange facilitated some Questions and Answers to end the day.

It was an encouraging day with so many people willing to learn more about dementia and dementia-friendly church and prepared to take action. Special thanks go to Mary Fordham, Father Malcolm and the Benefice leadership team for planning and organising the day and also to St Saviour’s for the use of the hall and their hospitality and to all the participants for giving up a Saturday.

A participant quoted “well worth attending, very informative”.

If you would like to arrange something similar for your church, benefice, mission area or deanery please get in touch with

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