At the start of his Fellowship, 2010 Clore Social Fellow Neil Mapes was a project consultant on the Mental Health Foundation’s Dementia Choices, exploring self-directed support with people living with dementia.
Neil set up Dementia Adventure as a Community Interest Company in April 2009 and now runs it full time. Dementia Adventure won Social Vision 2011, and in February 2012, Neil was identified as one of Britain’s New Radicals by The Observer and Nesta. The leadership development Neil gained from the Fellowship has enabled Dementia Adventure to increase both it’s profile and impact.
During his Fellowship, Neil undertook a wide range of training including attending the Do Lectures in Wales and a Windsor Leadership Trust course:
“This training ended up being a pivotal week for me personally ... I learnt that not only is my leadership style and context valid, but that it connects to a purpose and a passion so many people in large organisations appear to have lost connection with.”
Neil’s practice-based research on the effect of ‘green exercise’ on people suffering from dementia was supervised by Essex University and launched at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in February 2011. The research has attracted considerable interest amongst academics in the field of dementia and those engaged with developing effective support for dementia sufferers, as well as attracting work for Dementia Adventure.
The organisation is now going from strength to strength and has now been awarded a six-figure sum to expand their capacity and reach:
"These are exciting times for us - we have doubled our turnover every year since we started, won many awards, and most importantly, delivered some life changing work to people living with dementia and their carers. We are extremely pleased to have received this support from the Department of Health as it will enable us to reach thousands more people living with dementia with our nature based work and also shows that they want to encourage innovation in this area. We have gone from "Lucy and Neil and a good idea" to a team of 10 people, and this new funding will allow us to bring another four people to the team over the next three years."