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At its core, "The Building Capacity Project" is a grassroots initiative that aims to enable people with dementia to participate in community life as full social citizens. We use an asset-based community development (ABCD) approach to support the growth of innovative community initiatives that foster inclusion and reduce stigma by creating meaningful opportunities for people with dementia to remain active and socially connected. 

This project began as a cross-Canada partnership between researchers at the University of British Columbia and Lakehead University, and members of the Westside Seniors Hub in Vancouver and the North West Dementia Working Group in Thunder Bay. The four-year project was one of the first to launch under the Public Health Agency of Canada and its new, federally funded Dementia Community Investment Strategy. 

After four years of collaboration, connection, implementation, and evaluation, we’ve developed a body of knowledge we’d like to share more widely. So, phase two of this work starts now with the development of an Action Guide. Project lead researchers, community partners and advocates living with dementia are working together to create this important working document that will help people in different locations, industries, and contexts start their own initiatives, become more inclusive, and build the advocacy and inclusivity climates to help us all expand our knowledge and our capacity.


Follow our newsletter for the most recent updates on what we’re up to, and stay tuned for social media campaigns, webinars, and community networking events coming soon! 

Watch our BCP Short Documentary to learn more about the project.

While the project engages two distinct communities in BC and Ontario, together these communities unite under


Implementing an ABCD approach to adapt and create community programs and services that are meaningful and inclusive for people with dementia.
Conducting a developmental evaluation that will allow the team to learn how to best support the growth and integration of programs and services that are meaningful and inclusive for people with dementia.
Disseminating learnings to increase awareness and to support communities and their efforts to create opportunities for meaningful participation by people with dementia. 

The Building Capacity Project is not about community organizations developing a whole new set of separate programs and services for people with dementia. Rather, it is about figuring out a sustainable process for adapting and creating meaningful programs and services that are inclusive for people with dementia. We want more people with dementia to be active and participate in their community in a variety of ways, but more importantly, we want increased capacity in our communities so this kind of active participation can continue to grow and flourish. 


This bouquet of fireweed and forget me not flowers has been chosen as a symbol for the Building Capacity Project. The WSH has selected the fireweed as a wildflower that symbolizes resilience, while the forget-me-not flower is a symbol of dementia, as used in the NWDWG logo. Together, they symbolize the collective action by the NWDWG and WSH as they come together for the Building Capacity Project.

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