Our story

We’re excited about where we’re going, but we think it’s important to remember where we came from.

HERE isn’t a completely new service – it’s an expansion of the support we provided to thousands of people with dementia and their carers when we were known as Dementia Web.

Read about the things we learned through running Dementia Web and how this shaped the HERE service by reading about our journey below.

Because who doesn’t love a good origins story?

Introducing Dementia Web

Dementia Web started its life as a project in Oxfordshire set up by people from seven organisations and the charity Guideposts in 2001.  Guideposts, the charity that runs HERE, has 40 years’ experience running a wide range of local services, from carers’ emergency services to day centres for people with learning disabilities.

We recognised that families looking after someone with dementia didn’t know about the support they could access in their local area. So we built a website and helpline to offer information about dementia and tell people about local services that could help.

We also set up a training programme. Equipped with nationally recognised qualifications and experience, we offered training to organisations to increase understanding among staff about dementia. We also offered informal training for families looking to gain confidence in their ability to care for a family member.

From those early days Dementia Web grew, in expertise, experience and scope. 

 

Dementia Web goes national

As the reputation of Dementia Web grew, we began to receive calls from all over the country, looking for support and information about what was available near to them.

In 2008, we expanded the local information we provided to cover Warwickshire. Over a period of several years we built up records of services in Gloucestershire, Kent, Somerset and Avon.

Often, it was the local authority who came to us with the proposal to expand the service, recognising the value of providing a local information service for families and people affected by dementia.

We began producing directories of local support services called Information Prescriptions (IPs). The IPs have been nationally recognised as an excellent source of information and were used by many health and social care professionals.

All in all, we provided local information to over 40 local councils in England.

Dementia Web
goes national

As the reputation of Dementia Web grew, we began to receive calls from all over the country, looking for support and information about what was available near to them.

In 2008, we expanded the local information we provided to cover Warwickshire. Over a period of several years we built up records of services in Gloucestershire, Kent, Somerset and Avon.

Often, it was the local authority who came to us with the proposal to expand the service, recognising the value of providing a local information service for families and people affected by dementia.

We began producing directories of local support services called Information Prescriptions (IPs). The IPs have been nationally recognised as an excellent source of information and were used by many health and social care professionals.

All in all, we provided local information to over 40 local councils in England.

From Dementia Web to HERE

Throughout the life of Dementia Web we supported people who were struggling with other long-term conditions in addition to dementia, who would benefit from a more comprehensive information service covering all long-term conditions. We recognised that the need for this service was significant: nationally, 2.9 million people in the UK will be struggling with two or more long-term conditions by 2018.

Meanwhile, despite our success in providing local information to a large part of the UK, maintenance of that information was always going to depend on council funding, which at a time of deep budget cuts was starting to dry up. Any future support service would need to be financially sustainable, and capable of providing consistent local expertise across the UK.

So we came up with HERE: a website and phone support service for people with long-term conditions, and the carers who support them. We aim to cover many of the most prevalent long-term conditions: dementia, arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, depression and anxiety.

To make this service sustainable, we built HERE as a membership service which costs £1 a month to join. We believed it was important to be able to promise that our support will always be there for people in the long-term, while being conscious to charge an amount that is affordable.

The move from Dementia Web to HERE is therefore a move from a locally-funded, dementia-specific service, to a membership service, covering the whole of the UK and providing support for people struggling with a range of long-term conditions.

 

The road ahead

Over the coming months we’ll continue to develop and improve the information we provide both for carers and for people diagnosed with a long-term condition. We’ll expand our local information to cover the remainder of the UK and expand the team to make sure every record is updated regularly.

We will begin gathering and sharing the personal stories of people living with long-term conditions, so that our information reflects the experience of other people in similar circumstances, as well as the expertise of professionals. Over time, we hope to build a supportive community around HERE of people sharing experience and helping each other face the challenges that life with a long-term condition can bring.

The HERE team can draw on the many years of experience in Guideposts providing a professional, valued and relevant service to people.  Despite our plans to expand our range of support, we will not compromise on the integrity and professionalism which we have become known for.

There will always be more to do: more information to add, more people to support. This is an exciting period for the service, and we look forward to the developments to come.

 

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