Joseph Rowntree Foundation: Dementia Friendly Communities Evaluation

Dementia friendly York
















In 2012 the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF) began its Dementia Without Walls programme which aimed to challenge attitudes, understanding and behaviours around dementia which reinforce stigma, isolation and exclusion. The programme hoped to inspire local communities, organisations and businesses to become more aware of dementia and be more inclusive.

The Dementia Without Walls programme included three strands:

Strand 1 – Empowering people with dementia

Strand 2 – Dementia-friendly communities

Strand 3 – Thinking differently about dementia

Dementia Friendly Communities in York and Bradford

In 2014 a consortium comprising the Dean Knight Partnership Ltd, Qa Research and 2020 Commissioning Ltd was appointed by JRF to carry out an evaluation of two Dementia Friendly Communities (DFC) projects based in York and Bradford.

The York programme included dementia education sessions delivered by Dementia Forward and a number of grant funded projects with a creative or arts focus such as music projects and gardening.

In Bradford, the work followed a community development model whereby the DFC Programme co-ordinator worked within wards delivering dementia education sessions and supporting the community to form their own action groups to take forward dementia-friendly activities such as carer’s support groups and walking groups for people with dementia.

The objectives of the evaluation were to:

  • enhance learning about the process of developing and supporting DFCs
  • inform future work in this area
  • share learning with other organisations

How the evaluation was delivered

The evaluation in both York and Bradford was conducted over a ten-month period from February-November 2014 and included interviews with stakeholders from a range of organisations involved in helping communities become more dementia friendly, e.g. local authority, health, community and faith groups, local businesses and people with dementia and carers.  Alongside the interviews, the evaluation team also attended steering group meetings and stakeholder events where they observed proceedings or led group discussions.

We also conducted an online survey to gather responses from a wider range of stakeholders at ‘early findings’ events in November 2014 to reflect on the evaluation results so far.

Impact & Outcomes

The outcomes of the evaluations carried out in York and Bradford have enabled JRF to understand the positive aspects as well as persistent challenges associated with developing DFCs and to spread the learning from both cities across the UK and beyond.

Find out more about some of the outcomes and what we learnt from the study by reading our blog: ‘A Life More Ordinary’:

The full published report will be available on the JRF website in autumn 2015.

For more information and resources relating to Dementia Without Walls go to:


If you would like to know more about this study or any other work we’ve done on similar topics contact Kay Silversides, Research Manager on 01904 632039 or email her at