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  • Staying well, connected to others and resilient
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Filo Quality social interaction in the community for people living with dementia


The Filo Project. Our purpose is to provide high quality day care to people living with early to moderate dementia in the community. Our main objective is to provide our members with a meaningful day in which they have the time and space to enjoy quality social interaction in an environment in which they feel valued. We address the loneliness, social and intellectual isolation of the elderly population living with dementia in Devon and Somerset, we also address the lack of day care provision across these areas. We know that people can live well with dementia and we work hard to be part of a solution to this.

What is the innovation?

The innovation is that the service takes place in the home of a host, who is employed by us. The service is firmly rooted in the community; People will generally not travel more than 10 miles from where they live and will consequently be socialising with contemporaries from their own locality. Moreover, the host provides the travel, meaning even those most rurally located can still access our service. Groups are small, generally 4 in number, which means that everyone can hear and engage with the others, no one gets left out and the service is very much bespoke to the preferences, personalities and needs of each of the group members. The focus is firmly on peoples capacities and capabilities. Our main objective is to provide people with a meaningful day in which they have the time and space to enjoy quality social interaction in an environment in which they feel valued.

What is the problem this innovation solves?

The Filo Project solves many problems.

1. Individuals with early/moderate dementia have limited opportunity for quality social interaction.

2. Social isolation and loneliness significantly impacts the health and wellbeing of our members, which leads to an escalation of dementia symptoms.

3. The effect of this makes coping for individuals and their families that much more challenging

4. The worsened dementia symptoms leads to increased secondary mental health conditions associated with social isolation, e.g. depression, which increases the use of primary services.

5. If families are unable to cope with the speed of which a member may then require residential care is hastened.

6. The increased use of primary services, hospital admissions and residential care on the state places a substantial cost and resources burden on the state.


To provide small group day care in a home environment, with transport included. A day which is bespoke to the individuals. That members come on the same day each week to the same host with the same group provides crucial stability to members. The employment of excellent hosts delivering the service. Individuals with early/moderate dementia have the opportunity for quality social interaction over an extended period on any given day, typically 6 hours. The reduction in symptoms positively impacts the health and wellbeing of our members, as well as their families who are better able to cope with their caring role. Families/partners achieve regular and valuable respite. The improved members wellbeing reduces secondary mental health conditions associated with social isolation, e.g. depression. The decreased use of primary services, hospital admissions and residential care on the state eases the cost and resources burden on the state.

Evidence base

We have been providing care for 7 years and have a strong body of evidence demonstrating that we do offer the solution outlined above. A recent survey of how people coped in lockdown without our service yielded this response; ‘Without Filo there was a big difference for my mum; she showed more anxiety and didn’t want to do anything at all. The local Mental Health Team became involved and my mum was on the strongest medication available. My mum was in a very dark place, the Mental Health Team were so concerned about her they offered her an emergency bed when one was available. I am full of praise for Filo and the impact it has on my mum.'

Expected impact

The testimonial above is a typical example of the impact we have. We know that this is the outcome we achieve for all of our members. As we grow across Devon and Somerset this impact will only increase.


We currently have 43 hosts across Devon and Somerset. We currently support 170 members and their families.

What would councils/health organisations/local areas need to do or have in place to enable it to happen?

• Approved Council provider status and good communication with Commissioners

• Have a system overview strategic group to oversee a system-wide, joined-up problem solving approach across all organisations by ensuring that there is a clear and common understanding of projects and problems related to dementia services. This group would be responsible for improving services and identifying solutions to issues raised that are exclusively related to dementia in both community and inpatient settings spanning the whole health and social care system including VCSE and Primary Care services. The group would respect and prioritise the needs of the local population and shape support services so as to target efforts and resources most effectively.

What would kill it?

Not having either of the above.

Where to go for more information

Email: info@thefiloproject.co.uk

Tel: 0333 939 8225

Address: 20 Richmond Road Exeter EX4 4JA

More information

Ours is a collaborative service, each group is bespoke to the members within. There is no set programme for each day and, as with a group of friends getting together, each day unfolds and contains within it whatever members’ preferences are. The focus is always on members’ capacities. Members attend groups within their local community meaning they forge friendships with others within their locale, as well as the host. That we provide transport means that we can support even the most rurally located. Evidence of impact is something we collect for each client so we are able to see what progress/improvements in wellbeing are made.