DFC carol service 002

Dementia Friendly Churches

Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland is supporting local churches to become more Dementia Friendly. The Dementia Friendly Churches working group is an ecumenical group from churches in Middlesbrough who are passionate about supporting people living with dementia and their carers.

Dementia Friendly Churches

Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland is supporting local churches to become more Dementia Friendly. In 2016 a Dementia Friendly Churches working group was established. It is an ecumenical group made up of individuals from churches in Middlesbrough who are passionate about supporting people living with dementia and their carers. The group aims to oversee the development of practical responses amongst local churches to support people living with dementia and their carers.

Dementia Friends

Individuals can attend informal training sessions and become Dementia Friends, an initiative of the Alzheimer’s Society. A Dementia Friend learns a little bit more about what it's like to live with dementia and then turns that understanding into action - anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend.

If you are interested in taking part in Dementia Friends training for churches please contact us, or Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough staff


Local Dementia Friendly Churches

Churches can also work towards becoming Dementia Friendly, and a number of local churches have already achieved this. For a church to become Dementia Friendly they need to fill in an application form outlining how the church will work towards the 6 steps to becoming a more dementia friendly organisation.

Together Middlesbrough and Cleveland is part of Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough, an initiative that is working towards Middlesbrough becoming a nationally recognised Dementia Friendly Community. The project aims to ensure that in Middlesbrough people living with dementia are able to:

  • Remain active and included members of their communities
  • Maintain their independence for as long as possible
  • Be treated with understanding and respect
  • Receive support when necessary

You can find out how to apply for your church to be recognised as dementia friendly here.

Music Groups for People Living with Dementia

One of the key factors in living well with dementia is the understanding that, while short term memory is often affected and therefore someone with dementia may not remember the details of an activity, the ability to recall feelings is intact for much longer. Research has shown that even when some memories are hard to retrieve, music is one of the easier things to recall. Who hasn’t switched on the radio and had their spirits lifted by a favourite song, or been reminded of a loved one on hearing something they loved to dance to?

There are 4 groups in Middlesbrough that use music and song to help people living with dementia and their carers to connect with memories. People who attend these groups respond on many levels to the sessions; through singing old and new songs, using instruments, interacting with others, and gentle movements and exercises to build on preserved memory for music in the brain. These groups are open to everyone and a lot of fun, no musical expertise required! The 4 groups are:

Singing for the Brain (run in conjunction with the Alzheimer Society), alternate Tuesday afternoons at The Trinity Centre, North Ormesby.

Music and Memories, alternate Tuesday afternoons at St Mary’s Church, Acklam

Mindful Music, Alternate Thursday afternoons at Thorntree Hub

Music for the Mind, 2nd Wednesday afternoon of the month, St Mary’s RC Cathedral, Coulby Newham.

If you would like to know more about these groups, please contact us.

Other activities:

A Dementia Friendly sports group on Tuesdays at the Trinity Centre, North Ormesby. Time to chat about sporting memories over a cuppa is followed by an opportunity to try out gentle sports like walking football, chair-based aerobics and indoor curling. Contact Andy Colclough at the Trinity Centre for more information and dates for the sessions. Andy.colclough@trinitycentre.org 01642 286122

Dementia Friendly Carol Service

Each December we hold a Dementia Friendly Carol Service for people living with dementia, their friends, family and carers. It is always a wonderful event packed full of traditional Christmas carols, interactive reflections and memories of Christmases past. The service is followed by an afternoon tea which has been generously supported by local Dementia Friendly businesses.

If you would like to read more about one of our carol services, click here.

Dementia Friendly carol service 2017

Dementia Friendly Church Conference

Through the Faithfully Ageing Better project, Together Middlesbrough hosted a one-day conference in association with Livability for people from any church who would like to support people living with dementia and their carers. The event was held at the Trinity Centre, North Ormesby in April 2018, and was an inspiring day for church representatives from across Teesside and County Durham.


There are a number of resources developed by St Cuthbert’s Church, Ormesby that you may find helpful to explore being a Dementia Friendly Church.



Livability have produced a number of resources including a guide to developing a Dementia Friendly Church, available here.

The Church of England has produced a handbook for people living with dementia and those who care for them.


The Catholic church's Caritas Social Action Network has produced a Dementia Toolkit which can be accessed here.

The Herbert Protocol

The Herbert Protocol is a national scheme adopted by Cleveland Police and other police services across the country.

Do you care for someone who has dementia and worry that they might go missing? The Herbert Protocol is here to help find them if they do. Please share and spread the word about this excellent support.

Nothing is more worrying or distressing than when a loved one or friend goes missing or doesn't return home when expected. For people living with or caring for someone with dementia, this may be quite common. The Herbert Protocol encourages carers, families, friends or neighbours, to hold information about the person with dementia that can help the police find them if they do go missing. More details here.