Journeycall development workshop

Last week, Project Onwards travelled to Arbroath to deliver a development workshop. The workshop was hosted by Journeycall, a multi-channel contact centre which, like Viaqqio, is a division of the ESP Group. Journeycall provides expert customer support on behalf of many public transport operators within the UK.

Journeycall will be providing customer support for Turn To Us via a phoneline, webchat and email. We chose to offer three contact methods to allow individuals to contact us in their preferred way. This is a direct response to ongoing engagement with people affected by dementia. For instance, some people told us that they can struggle to communicate easily over the phone and feel rushed, whereas email gives them time to compose their message.

Twelve new Dementia Friends from Journeycall and Viaqqio

We were keen to introduce Journeycall advisors to the Turn To Us service and to offer them some dementia training. This excellent training, provided by Alzheimer Scotland, was very informative and helped to kick-start the conversations within the workshop. A bookcase analogy was used to explain dementia and this can be accessed here: Further training will be provided to the agents once the service is ready to go live in January.

Furthermore, we were keen to draw any insights from the agents to support the ongoing development of Turn To Us. We truly value co-design and the importance of involving a range of stakeholders during the development process. Throughout Project Onwards we have involved people living with dementia and those who care for them. At this stage, we knew the contact centre agents would offer valuable insight to: identify potential challenges for service delivery; understand how they might identify someone who requires some extra support; and consider the wider customer service we can offer. We look forward to continuing to work with Journeycall to deliver Turn To Us.

The purpose of Onwards

Project Onwards recently attended a course on ‘Measuring Social Impact’ that was ran by the Social Enterprise Academy and supported by the Life Changes Trust. The course focused on identifying the purpose of what you’re doing to ensure you are working towards it. The purpose of Project Onwards is to work with people living dementia and their care network, to develop a service that helps ease the transition of giving up driving.

Through ongoing consultation with people affected by dementia, we were able to understand some of the difficulties people may face when they have to give up driving. Giving up driving can be seen as a loss of independence and some people are worried they won’t be able to continue their day-to-day activities. To really understand our purpose, please read some of the experiences people have had driving with dementia –


Wendy Mitchell – “Being able to continue to get out and about enables you to remain connected with others and reduces isolation. If I didn’t have coping strategies to remain independent and mobile, I’d be very lonely and soon sink into depression. Travel brings normality to an often abnormal life. The main barriers of often other people are the people thinking you can’t instead of helping you to find other ways to remain independent.” Read the full post here:

Chris Forse – “…we assumed that I couldn’t legally drive until my licence was renewed. I now know that this isn’t the case…Carol drove me everywhere I needed to go. She isn’t a confident driver so it made me feel quite frustrated to be so dependent on her and giving her even more to do. I was extremely anxious that my licence would be revoked and I would no longer be able to drive. I started to feel a bit depressed about it all.” Read the full post here:

Carol Fordyce – “I handed my keys to Brian and said, “Put these away, I am surrendering my licence”. I always said that I would know when the time comes to stop and this is the time. I have made a couple of silly minor mistakes recently but this was more serious. I passed my test, first time, at 17yrs of age and have driven for 44 years. No fines, no penalty points, and only two minor accidents. I made the decision, it was mine to make and I think it is the right one. So thats it, I’m now a non driver!!” Read the full post here:

Project Onwards is committed to working to ease this transition to ensure people living with dementia can continue to get out and about once they stop driving.

Dementia Diaries

The experiences above are from Dementia Diaries, a ‘UK-wide project that brings together people’s diverse experiences of living with dementia as a series of audio diaries. It serves as a public record and a personal archive that documents the views, reflections and day-to-day lives of people living with dementia, with the aim of prompting dialogue and changing attitudes.’

For more information, please visit their website:

Ann’s Annexe at the Hollies Day Centre

The week before last, Project Onwards travelled to the Hollies Day Centre in Musselburgh to attend Ann’s Annexe East Lothian meeting. The meeting brought people together from organisations who work with individuals affected by dementia. The aim was to gain more of an understanding of what information and help is currently available within Musselburgh.

Despite being held in Musselburgh with some different attendees, the conversation was very similar to that of the Dementia Friendly East Lothian gathering that took place in Haddington at the start of October. Whilst there are various activities, events, support and resources available to those living with dementia and their carers, it can be difficult to get an overview of everything that is available.

The meeting considered how organisations and individuals working with people affected by dementia can be more aware of what is going on within their local area. By being more aware, individuals and organisations would be able to offer more tailored support and direct people to appropriate and relevant points.

With this in mind, we are working towards Turn To Us being a point of reference that would enable individuals to find all the travel advice and information in one place. As well as this, we are exploring how Turn To Us could direct individuals to events and activities locally and nationally. This is a direct response to the ongoing involvement of people with dementia and their carers.

It was great to meet others who are working within East Lothian. There are definitely exciting things to come, so watch this space!

Turn To Us

Over the past year, the ESP Group have been working with people with dementia and their carers to develop Project Onwards. In doing so, we have co-designed a new travel service for people living with dementia called Turn To Us to help ease the transition of stopping driving.

Our initial engagement with people with dementia and their care network highlighted that stopping driving can be a difficult adjustment for some. Turn To Us will equip users with relevant information and helpful tools to empower them to remain independent, mobile and connected to their community.

Turn To Us
Image of the initial Turn To Us website designs

We have opted for a multi-channel service as this will allow individuals to interact with it in whichever method they prefer and will allow for both online & offline users. The service will support people through this transition and will incorporate the following:

  • Website to provide relevant information that will help build confidence and enable users to make informed decisions about driving and transport;
  • Online tools to offer personalised support through the transition of stopping driving;
  • Helpline, webchat and email option to talk to specifically trained advisors to answer questions and assist users;
  • Community workshops to encourage social interaction and the opportunity to meet with others who have shared or have similar experiences.

The next step is for our web-app developers Ember to begin the build phase of the project. We are looking forward to being able to launch and trial Turn To Us in East Lothian. The trial will test the service and allow us to gain real user feedback, learning what works well and what could be further considered.

Design review

In our previous project update, we mentioned that our new website designs created by StudioLR were ready to be reviewed. We were keen to share these with people with dementia and their care network to ensure their experiences and needs continue to shape the development of the website and wider service (including a helpline and workshops).

Over the last few weeks, we traveled to the Aberdeen Dementia Resource Centre and the Dementia Friendly East Lothian gathering in Haddington. In the past we have run lots of group sessions to discuss the challenges of transport and giving up driving, but for this phase we thought it would be better to meet with people individually, or with one of their care partners present. StudioLR had used a programme called ‘InVision’ to create a prototype, or mock-up, of the website. This means it is not a fully working website, but it looks a lot like one and you can click through some of the sections. Our participants could test the website on either laptop or iPad (depending what they felt most comfortable with) and offer their critique of the website designs.

Aberdeen Website Review Onwards Dementia Travel
The InVision mock-up that we discussed with people in East Lothian and Aberdeen

The feedback we received was incredibly insightful and is directly informing the further development of the website. We are updating the designs to respond to the feedback and comments we received. For example, the website will include some ‘How to Guides’ to help people through the transition of stopping driving and we received some great suggestions on what these should cover. For instance, one participant suggested that we could have instructions on how to do your first online grocery shop, as grocery shopping is a common worry for many people if they have to stop driving. Understanding what content is relevant is key to ensuring the website and the wider service will be useful.

In addition to specific learnings about the new website, we are continuing to build on our understanding of how best to involve people with dementia and their carers within the project’s development. We recognise the need for us to be flexible in how and when we engage with individuals and group. This means leaving plenty of time within our project plan and introducing ourselves to people early in the process. We will carry this knowledge forward as we engage with others throughout the project.

Dementia Friendly East Lothian gathering

Last week, Project Onwards were pleased to attend the Dementia Friendly East Lothian Gathering held at the Maitlandfield House Hotel in Haddington. The event created lots of meaningful conversations around living well with dementia, both for the individual with a diagnosis and their wider care network. We completely respect the confidentiality of the conversations held during this Gathering, so we are simply sharing our reflections from the two days.

dementia friendly east lothian haddington
The gathering began on a beautiful Autumn’s day in Haddington

It was very powerful for us to hear directly from people with dementia and those involved in their care about their personal experiences. The phrase “nothing about us without us” was mentioned a few times over the two days. It reflects the importance of directly involving people with dementia when designing or making decisions about any products, services, or policies which will affect them. It reinforced our core ambition of designing Project Onwards alongside people with dementia.

The gathering created lots of meaningful converstations, via Dr Jane Robertson

Travel challenges, and the difficulty of stopping driving, were frequently mentioned. We were reminded that changing how we travel can be a very challenging transition and that there is a real need to ensure people with dementia can continue to get out and about after being diagnoses. Project Onwards looks specifically at this transition and the event clearly showed that Onwards could have a positive impact during this difficult time.

The yellow “I want to speak please” cards, via Sue Northrop

For use over the two days, the organisers had provided bright yellow cards that read ‘I would like to talk please’. These cards made it easier for organisers to know when someone wanted to contribute to the discussion and helped ensure that everyone was heard. These cards are such a simple idea that helped everyone’s thoughts be heard by the group. We will ask individuals and groups if they wish to use this technique as Project Onwards continues to progress.

Age Scotland Training

On Friday, Project Onwards traveled to Galashiels in the Scottish Borders to attend dementia and veteran training hosted by Age Scotland. The training is part of the Veterans Project being ran by Age Scotland and Unforgotten Forces.

The training was very thought-provoking, as it challenged the stereotypes we sometimes see with regards to veterans and those with dementia. It highlighted the need to focus on the individual whilst challenging the negative portrayal or language that can be associated with dementia and veterans.

Dementia and veteran training delivered by Age Scotland as part of the Veterans Project

The training was a mix of presentations and interactive activities, which made it very engaging for attendees. A great example of this is the Age Scotland version of Snakes and Ladders. In the game, players can problem solve issues that people with dementia and veterans might face. The game was a fun way to learn about the services and resources that are currently available to people.

Age Scotland’s Snakes and Ladders board game