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April News 2024

Updated: May 13

Welcome back to the Building Capacity Project newsletter!

We’re pleased to be kicking off PHASE TWO of this project and want to fill you in on what we’ve been hard at work on this year!

MARCH 2023

We wrapped phase one of the Building Capacity Project with a celebration held both at Lakehead University and the University of British Columbia simultaneously. Research team members, community partners, and advocates with lived experience from both the North West Dementia Working Group (Ontario) and the Flipping Stigma Action Group (BC) came together to talk about the work they’d done together over the first four years, and what it meant to them, as well as their hopes for how they’d move things forward. We heard from community partners about the exciting initiatives they developed, and from advocates on the importance of continuing to develop dementia inclusive communities and ensuring people with lived experience were integral to their design.



The BCP team assembled a Community Action Team to create an Action Guide. This research-based resource, which draws on the field of Implementation Science, will act as an effective road map for building out community-based interventions in new and diverse communities. It will be ready to go in about one year.



The CAT team began meeting monthly to develop the content for the BCP Action Guide, laying out what to consider and how to approach a dementia inclusive intervention/initiative. The meetings have proven to be incredible sources of learning for everyone as we’ve discussed what needs to be included, how things should be worded, and what kinds of diverse challenges might arise in different social, cultural, and regional spaces.

In mid-October, Lakehead University hosted “Living Well with Dementia: Creating Dialogues of Resilience.” This conference offered participants a chance to learn and share about building hope and resilience after a dementia diagnosis, and how to address the stigma that comes along with it. The conference featured powerhouse keynote speakers Rebekah Churchyard, Founder and CEO of Green Care Farms in Ontario, and BC’s Myrna Norman, a dementia advocate who runs the Purple Angels memory support group in Maple Ridge. North West Dementia Working Group advocates Bill Heibein and Bill Mercereau also spoke about their experiences living well with dementia, and there were opportunities to connect with health care providers, research team members, and community champions throughout the weekend. The conference was unique in that it was run by people with lived experience of dementia.

The Dementia Café at Urban Abbey saw a noticeable increase in attendance following the conference weekend, and it hasn’t waned yet. Numbers have been up as high as 60 participants since the Living Well conference. They even had a special guest from Alzheimer Society of Manitoba who was visiting her parents in Thunder Bay that weekend and decided to join. This surge in interest is incredibly heartening!



The Building Capacity Project is pleased to announce they have signed up four brand new community partners this year, who will work alongside our sustainability partners (ASK, DRA, SGSC, and KNH) . We began with informally connecting to discuss possibilities, then we conducted baseline interviews with them to brainstorm what initiatives and programs they’d like to begin, and lastly, we followed up to complete their implementation fund applications and make their partnerships official. These new partners are all being supported by our incredible Community Research Coaches, Ania Landy and Andréa Monteiro, who provide one to one support throughout the initiative development, implementation, and evaluation process. Please join us in welcoming Gibsons Seniors Society and the Sunshine Coast Resource Centre; Burnaby Neighbourhood House; Burnaby Co-Creation Academy; and the Purple Angels Memory Support Group in Maple Ridge.



Phase two of the project kicked off with a lively online networking event held at the end of February. Both new and established community partners introduced themselves to each other, presented their initiatives and hopes for going forward, and had a chance to connect in small break-out room settings.

They explored some of the challenges around engaging people with lived experience, and the elements needed to make places and spaces more inclusive. They also discussed strategies for making programs sustainable long term and for reducing stigma around dementia in general.


MARCH 2024

BCP’s Community Research Director Andréa Monteiro traveled to Thunder Bay in early March to connect with the project’s Thunder Bay-based research team members, advocates from the NWDWG and to visit the Dementia Café. She visited one of the NWDWG advocate Bill Heibein’s farm, toured Kakabeka Falls, attended Urban Abbey, (where she got to play a few rounds of Name That Tune) and had a chance to see Lakehead University’s greenhouse for the Natural Resource Management in Biology Program. The biggest and best part of the trip was connecting with all the wonderful people there, and further cementing the strong connection our two sites share.


Thunder Bay’s research team is preparing for an important meeting May 15th to which they’ve invited mayors and council. They’d like to follow up with organizations they had planned on working with several years back, but who were unable to engage due to the damaging effects of COVID. These organizations include everything from community food centres to arts-based groups.

Thunder Bay is also excited about the beginnings of a dementia garden, where the focus will be on fostering a sense of belonging and nourishing experiences for people with dementia.


Learn more about the Building Capacity Project

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