An East Belfast supported housing scheme for older people with dementia has won a top award at this year’s International Dementia Excellence Awards.
The award for the Mullan Mews scheme, owned by Clanmil Housing and managed in partnership with the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, was presented at the international ‘Coming of Age’ conference in London, seeing off competition from providers of dementia services worldwide.
Mullan Mews is a supported housing scheme providing specialised accommodation and support for 30 older people with dementia enabling them to maintain a high level of independence and social inclusion. The physical design of the scheme, and the support provided, compensates for the disability caused by dementia and promotes an active and rewarding lifestyle for the tenants.
Mullan Mews took first place in the “Pleasure of Eating” category of the awards which recognises work to enhance the quality and experience of meal times and food associated activities for people with dementia. The award was sponsored by La Foundation Médéric Alzheimer in Paris and the prize includes a grant of £1000 to be used to further promote the well being of those living at Mullan Mews.
Speaking with staff and residents at Mullan Mews, Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey said: "I want to congratulate everyone involved in the development of the ‘Pleasure of Eating’ service at Mullan Mews. I am sure that it will make a significant difference to the lives of its residents who suffer from dementia, as well as to their families and carers."
“This award for Mullan Mews represents a very positive step forward in the continued development of dementia services in Northern Ireland.”
Clare McCarty, Chief Executive of Clanmil Housing, was delighted to receive the award. Clare said:
“The pleasure of enjoying food is not always experienced by people with dementia. Often so much emphasis is placed on maintaining physical wellbeing and personal safety for people with dementia that basic pleasures like eating can be missed out. At Mullan Mews food really matters, and simple, practical initiatives have proved very successful in helping tenants maintain a nutritious, balanced diet in an enjoyable way.
Supported living in the community offers an alternative to residential care for people with dementia that focuses on maintaining quality of life and Mullan Mews is an excellent example of partnership working between Clanmil, Belfast Trust and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive’s Supporting People Programme. Clanmil is currently pursuing plans, subject to the availability of funding, to build a similar scheme at our Bass Brewery development site on the Glen Road in West Belfast.”
At Mullan Mews tenants grow vegetables in their own gardens, plan menus and regularly go grocery shopping. In each house the kitchen is the heart of the home, where tenants prepare meals with the help of support staff and gather to eat and talk or just enjoy the company. These activities help maintain community involvement and restore the tenants’ joy in the simple pleasure of a good meal shared with friends, often prompting memories of past family celebrations and favourite foods.
Mullan Mews was also shortlisted in the Dementia Design Innovation of the Year category of the awards.