As Covid restrictions eased and passengers returned to the railway many were unsure what to expect and felt anxious about travelling by train. Members of Eastbourne Dementia Action Alliance and peer support group SEA DEEP approached station manager Kate Richards and SCRP Line Officer Catherine Simmons with a request to refamiliarize themselves with the station and rail travel. Alongside volunteer station staff and Sussex Downs Line Officer Paul Bromley a station visit to Eastbourne was organised.
It proved to be an fantastic learning experience not only for the group but also for staff. Comprehensive feedback was provided on how the station could become more ‘Dementia Friendly’. SCRP and Southern staff were keen to build confidence further so organised a Try a Train trip to Brighton to review the onboard experience from the perspective of a person experiencing dementia. Feedback gathered was shared with staff and the GTR Accessibility team. Future SCRP team training is planned with two members of SEA DEEP who can provide first-hand experience, giving officers more confidence when assisting passengers and in reviewing station or train facilities. An additional aim is to encourage the station to sign the towns dementia friendly charter coordinated by the group.
“The station refamiliarsation and Try a Train were very helpful as part of a two-way process: people living with dementia becoming more confident in using public transport and also giving feedback on their needs/concerns to train operator.”
Chris Maddocks and Eddie Wood -Sea DEEP members