Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal becomes dementia aware

Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal, a National Trust World Heritage site and the largest Cistercian monastic ruins in the country, are keen to become a dementia friendly establishment in order to help their staff and volunteers welcome visitors living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia.

Sheena Van Parys, owner of local at home care company Home Instead, hosted a Dementia Friends session at the estate for staff and volunteers over the summer and just recently ran a more in depth specialist ‘Alzheimer’s and other Dementias’ education workshop. The specialised training was tailored for the team. It aimed to raise awareness of the sorts of issues that visitors to the estate who may have dementia, or who may be accompanying and caring for someone with dementia, may face. As a leading tourist attraction with around 370,000 visitors a year, Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal is keen to ensure that everyone can enjoy and continue to enjoy a great day out.  


Home Instead has developed the community education workshops through adaptation of their own City & Guilds accredited dementia training programme which was developed specifically for their caregivers.  


Sheena Van Parys comments:


“As specialists in at-home care for older people, a number of our clients are diagnosed with, or have symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and it is important that we can do as much as possible to maintain their quality of life.


“Community outreach is an important part of creating a more dementia aware society, and I am pleased to have been able to support Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal in their quest to become a dementia friendly organisation.


“45 staff and volunteers attended the dementia session, a mixture of heads of departments, guides, general assistants and retail staff and it was very well received.


“They are now keen to join the Dementia Action Alliance and are working towards becoming a dementia friendly organisation. I will be helping them to achieve this and may be running further dementia education sessions if they require.”


Emma Manners, Learning  and Access Officer for Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal commented on the workshop; ‘I have had some great feedback from those who attended and found it really informative and useful.  It has been an important part of an estate wide effort to improve our welcome for visitors with disabilities.  We are running a series of awareness sessions for all our staff and volunteers as well as improving the facilities on the estate.  We are aware that many of our visitors are affected by disability and are working to ensure that they can have a great day out with us.”


The sessions provided by Home Instead emphasised the fact that you can still live well with dementia and continue to do things that you loved to do, with the right support in place and a helping hand.


For more information on dementia workshops, contact Home Instead on 01423 774 490 or visit


Editor’s Notes:

The Dementia Action Alliance is a movement with one simple aim: to bring about a society-wide response to dementia. It encourages and supports communities and organisations across England to take practical actions to enable people to live well with dementia and reduce the risk of costly crisis intervention.