Dementia Hub to open at York’s former gasworks

Joe Gardham of Social Vision at the Heworth gasworks site
2 Oct 2019 @ 8.06 am
| Health

A Dementia Hub will open at the redeveloped Heworth Gasworks site, YorkMix can reveal.

And it will help to address York’s “astounding” lack of provision for those with dementia and their families.

Social Vision, owned by lifelong York resident Joe Gardham, will collaborate with Yorkshire 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 also 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.

Much needed space

Photograph: Dementia Forward
Jill Quinn, CEO of 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.”

Joe 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.”

Joe added:

  • 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.

Supportive community

Community Bees. Photograph: Social Vision
Community Bees works with people who are isolated and lonely from different backgrounds and illnesses, within the Heworth area.

CEO Michaela Shaw said:

  • 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.

The hub will also focus on mental health and wellbeing for men, and a sanctuary for children and families.

Volunteer group YorkeyDads have been very prominent in promoting men’s mental health across the city, with regular classes, sports and social events.

Founder of Yorkey Dads Jack Woodhams said they work with Social Vision on projects aimed at supporting dads 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.”

Open in 2021

The Heworth gasworks site from the air. Photograph © Google Street View
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 York councillors.

The proposals have been put forward by North Star, a York based property developer, and Moda, one of the UK’s leading Build to Rent companies and part of the Wetherby-based Caddick Group.