Train travel for people living with dementia is on track to become much easier in the North East. An innovative project developed by the British Transport Police and supported by the Dementia Innovation Hub is making sure that station staff are trained to offer support to people living with dementia during their train journeys.
Fiona Andrews, a British Transport Police Officer based in York, noticed that more passengers were using the station who appeared to have memory problems or dementia. She realised that station staff were often unsure how to provide appropriate support.
Keen to do something about this, Fiona set out to find out more about dementia by joining the Joseph Rowntree Foundation ‘Dementia without Walls’ project. She was then able to set up dementia awareness training for all station staff in York. To encourage people who may have become nervous about taking a train journey, she also organised some ‘supported’ train journeys to help them to regain their confidence in using the rail network.
After the success of the project in York, Fiona approached the Dementia Innovation Hub to explore ways of taking it further and rolling it out to all stations on the East Coast mainline from York to Newcastle.
We’ve been delighted to work with Fiona to produce a ‘documentary’ style video about the project. The video highlights some of the concerns that someone living with dementia (or family member or carer) may have about travelling by train. It also shows how station staff, both on and off the train and in the station shops and cafes, can support passengers who might have dementia, memory problems or who just need a bit of extra help.
A joint effort!
We couldn’t have made the video without the involvement of people living with dementia and their families, Virgin East Coast Trains, Network Rail, and some of the many organisations that provide dementia care and support. We’ll be using the video as a training resource for station staff, passengers and any other interested groups.
The project has recently been nominated for an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Communities Award.
But our work doesn’t end there. Fiona is now working hard to ensure that all stations across the rail network become Dementia Friendly The next phase of the project aims to look at the ‘whole journey’ and involve stakeholders who play a part in a passengers ‘onward journey’ including, buses, taxis, and metro trains.
The Dementia Innovation Hub is supporting an innovative project to make it easier for people living with dementia to travel by train in the North East.