Work programme 4

Neighbourhoods: our people, our places

The aim of work programme 4 was to find out how neighbourhoods and local communities can support people living with dementia to remain socially and physically active.

Our work programme has worked closely with people living with dementia and their care partners to find out what their neighbourhood means to them, the different ways it supports them, and what could be changed to make life better.

In the first phase of the research we spent time with people living with dementia and their care partners asking them to show us around their neighbourhood and to tell us about the people in their lives who help them out.

We then revisited the same people after 4-12 months to talk to them again. Following the research phase of the project we have developed a number of local neighbourhood-based interventions in each of the three field sites to test some of the findings from our project.

These have involved a wide range of local groups, organisations and companies and have allowed us to focus on things that are important at a local level as well as drawing on cross cutting themes.

The research was undertaken in three different areas:

  • Forth Valley (Scotland);
  • Greater Manchester (England);
  • Östergötland (Sweden).

The different teams have worked closely to compare findings, highlighting what is unique about their own field site, as well as what holds true cross-nationally.


  • Interviewed 129 people (67 people living with dementia and 64 carers).
  • Conducted 364 interviews.

We also developed a number of interventions informed by our findings: 


  • Helped to write Stirling Council Dementia Friendly Action Plan.
  • Informed NHS Forth Valley Dementia Strategy.
  • Collaborating with 12 community partner organisations on a 3-year dementia friendly community development project for Stirling and the Forth Valley called ‘Our Connected Neighbourhood’, funded by the Life Changes Trust.
  • Working with people with dementia and carers to carry out dementia friendly environmental audits in different public venues including local supermarkets.
  • Using the Scottish Government’s Place Standard Tool to find out.
  • Hosting a Neighbourhoods Festival (summer 2019) to raise awareness of the importance of neighbourhoods in the lives of people with dementia.


  • Staged events aimed at the general public: A series of exhibitions displaying material from the research has challenged visitors to dispel some popular myths and stereotypes about living independently with dementia.
  • Dissemination through targeted, dementia-appropriate print media, such as through three visual magazines.
    Everyday and Dementia Zine Series: Zine 1 (PDF / Web) | Zine 2 (PDF / Web)  | Zine 3 (PDF / Web)
  • Worked with local Dementia Action Alliances to raise awareness of the importance of neighbourhood places, and local contacts, in supporting people living with dementia (ongoing).
  • Worked with third sector groups, including among others Open Doors (see work programme 1) to develop and evaluate a unique dog walking group for people living with dementia.
  • A diverse programme of education and information events, including contributions to training events for professionals working in mental health nursing and social work fields.
  • Production of a film with a global reach, promoting how neighbourhoods can support people living with dementia through every day acts of support. This was produced in partnership with Alzheimer’s’ Disease International and ITN Production alongside work programme 1 of the Neighbourhoods and Dementia study and the Chief Investigator, John Keady.


  • Informed communities in the county of Östergötland on the need of local policies targeted to people living with dementia in their own homes and neighbourhoods.
  • Based on the results of work programme 4 and we have applied and got funding for the first dementia friendly research project in Sweden; dementia friendly community – the Norrköping model.

What next?

  • Continue to publish papers as part of dissemination activity.
  • Neighbourhoods: Our People Our Places book to be published by Policy Press.
  • In Stirling, our Connected Neighbourhoods intervention will continue until 2020 with aims to expand to nearby areas across Forth Valley.

University of Stirling

  • Richard Ward – Principal Investigator
  • Kainde Manji – Research Fellow
  • Cate Pemble – Doctoral Student
  • Lindsay Sibbald – Project Administrator
  • Rebecca Walesby – Project Administrator (Maternity cover)
  • Kirstein Rummery – Project Mentor

University of Salford

  • Andrew Clark – Project lead for Greater Manchester field Site

University of Linköping

  • Agneta Kullberg – Project lead for Östergötland Field Site
  • Elzana Odzakovic – Doctoral Student

The University of Manchester

  • Sarah Campbell – Research Associate
Useful links

Open access publications

Other links