Social Vision to open York’s first Dementia Hub at Heworth Gasworks



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Social Vision to open York’s first Dementia Hub at Heworth Gasworks

A local social enterprise will open a Dementia Hub as part of its plans for the derelict Heworth Gasworks site.

Social Vision, owned by lifelong York resident Joe Gardham, will collaborate with local organisation Dementia Forward to create a place where people living with Dementia, and their carers, can get information, advice and opportunities to socialise with other carers.

The community hub will also bring together other local groups and charities by creating a place that a wide range of organisations can benefit from.  At this stage, partners on this project include Community Bees, Yorkey Dads, The Wilberforce Trust, Move the Masses, Dementia Forward and Tribe York.

Social Vision is speaking to other groups to ensure maximum community benefits can be gained from this innovative new space, and is encouraging other charities and groups to get involved at this early stage.

Jill Quinn, CEO of Yorkshire-based Dementia Forward, said:

“Dementia has no prejudice. It affects everybody – rich or poor, young or old, black or white. The people Dementia Forward supports built our towns and cities, served our communities, taught our children, cared for us when we were ill. We are very excited to be working with Social Vision and North Star to create this much needed space for the dementia community.”

Gardham said:

“We are collaborating with the local experts on this one. Dementia Forward will help us to design the space to make it fully accessible and welcoming to people living with Dementia, including training all staff in dementia awareness. I don’t know anybody that hasn’t been affected by this health condition, and recent research shows 42% of adults fear dementia above all other health conditions. (Reference)

“It is astounding we have such little provision in a city like York, especially given our ageing population. We are creating a relevant space where people living with dementia and their carers can feel supported, informed and meet others sharing similar experiences. We don’t want to create weekly or monthly drop ins – we want this to be a permanent space that anybody can access whenever they need to.”

Michaela Shaw, CEO of local social enterprise Community Bees, added:

“Community Bees works with people who are isolated and lonely from different backgrounds and illnesses, within the Heworth area. People struggle to find the support needed within the area, whether that’s a coffee with others in the same situation or accessing support in their own homes and gardens. This new development at Heworth is much needed in the area so we can see more people laughing, making new friends and safe in the knowledge that there’s a supportive community on their doorstep.”

Gardham previously told us the hub will also focus on mental health and wellbeing for men, and a sanctuary for children and families. Local volunteer group Yorkey Dads have been very prominent in promoting men’s mental health across the city, with regular classes, sports and social events.

Jack Woodhams, founder of Yorkey Dads, confirmed:

“We’ve been working with Social Vision for a number of years on various projects aimed at supporting Dads and men who assume the role of a Dad to socialise, discuss parenthood and build supportive networks. These peer support groups help tackle feelings of isolation, helplessness and suicide. The new space at Heworth will become our base, allowing us to host meetings, run activities and support more men from Heworth and the wider city.”

Other groups to have expressed an interest include Wilberforce Trust who run meet ups for people with sight loss; Move the Masses who provide exercise classes for people who struggle with mobility; and Tribe York who provide incubation space and support for social entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.

The community hub could open in 2021, if the planning application for the regeneration of this long term derelict brownfield site is approved by City of York Councillors.


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