Dementia and the Bentham Line Community Rail Partnership
Company - The Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership
What is the issue being addressed?
How to improve the rail travel experience for those with ‘hidden’ impairments such as dementia.
There are an estimated 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK today (1.3%); 700,000 of whom reside in England (predicted to exceed 1 million by 2025, and 2 million by 2050). There are currently 700,000 ‘unregistered’ carers supporting those with dementia; this is expected to rise to 1.7 million by 2050. Currently an estimated 1,550,000 lives are affected in some way by dementia, and an estimated 3,700,000 lives will be affected by dementia in some way by 2050.
How was this solved?
A major project for the Leeds-Morecambe Community Rail Partnership (LMCRP) in association with Northern, Alzheimer’s Research UK, the Alzheimer’s Society and other partners. The aim was to make the Bentham Line ‘a centre of excellence’ in terms of understanding how community rail can assist in helping those with dementia to still lead an active life and continue to be an integral part of society.
To help individuals living with dementia to remain as independent as they can be, the LMCRP is working to make the Bentham Line dementia friendly by:
- supporting the journeys of those living with dementia, their carers and helpers
- raising awareness of dementia with staff, volunteers and passengers
- creating dementia-friendly station environments, services and activities.
The chief aim is to establish the Bentham Line as a place where people living with dementia are understood, respected and supported.
The scenic journey along the 75-mile Bentham Line, from the bustling city of Leeds, through the Pennines, to the seaside resort of Morecambe, provides an ideal opportunity to sit back, relax and enjoy mile upon mile of superb scenery. Four dementia-friendly walks are available from the stations at Morecambe, Bentham and Saltaire. All are designed to help recall memories of previous visits or of experiences from earlier times in life.
With assistance from Alzheimer’s Research UK, the Alzheimer’s Society, and Northern (the train operating company), the LMCRP has developed dementia-awareness sessions with a transport focus. In addition, all participants have the opportunity to become a dementia friend (an Alzheimer’s Society initiative to which over 2.3 million people have signed up), and access to an extensive information pack to take away with them.
This supports our aim of making our customer-facing staff and volunteers ‘dementia aware’ and gives them the knowledge and confidence to assist the people living with dementia effectively. This also allows us to encourage safe journeys, tourism and group travel.
We would like to offer support to similar groups in communities along the Bentham Line and hope that our work will encourage other community rail partnerships and train operating companies across the country to develop a dementia-friendly approach to other routes.
What were the outcomes?
- Those who have received the awareness session so far report feeling more comfortable and confident in their ability to assist a person living with dementia
- Those living with dementia who have taken assisted journeys, or been engaged or involved in the process, report feeling listened to and more confident in using the railway as a mode of transport.
- Customer-driven developed from a community base
- Putting rail in reach of people and encouraging inclusivity
- Providing an end to end journey accompanied by an appropriate activity
- Having a positive social impact
- Supporting the economy.
Asset / operations
Community rail partnership supported by a train operating company and other external partners including charities, councils and businesses.