Dementia Volunteers Needed

Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network has received funding from the National Lottery to run a scheme in Northamptonshire which aims to help carers and people with dementia who have got lost. We are fore-runners with this project which is being heavily evaluated by the lottery to see if it could be rolled out nationally, so keen not to let the county down, we are determined to try and make it work as effectively as possible, and need your help.

The scheme involves local volunteers with a mobile phone signing up to the Neighbourhood Return.


This is how it works.

  • Carers of people with memory problems who have gone missing, phone into a central call centre.
  • The call centre sends out a request to all volunteers in the immediate area to see if they are available.
  • If they aren’t they just text back no, and if they are, they get sent a photograph and description and directions of where to search.
  • They keep in touch with the call centre to report progress and get further instructions.
  • Volunteers can join or leave a search at any time, they just need to let the call centre know.
  • Maximum time for any search is 2.5 hours after which the police take over.

The piloting has shown that we need 10 people on average to be registered to have four available to search. The idea is therefore to sign up as many people as possible in every area so that some people are always available. It is very important in rural areas across the county as well as in towns, possibly more so because there are less people. We need to ensure carers and people with dementia have support wherever they live.

The scheme uses Neighbourhood Alert, our community messaging system to keep in touch. It has had some special additions to the system – a separate secure database for registering people with dementia, and searching and risk assessment additions which the call centre use to monitor progress of the search and to contact volunteers.

If you have a mobile phone, no matter how busy you are, please would you consider joining up and encouraging everyone you know to do so. You could just save the life of a local neighbour if you happen to be free.

You don’t need any skills other than common sense. You are just asked to download and keep handy the safe searching guide available on the Neighbourhood Return website (address below).

It is great news that we have already had 200 people sign up across the county, if you are one of them, many thanks, and sorry for bothering you again.

Subject to some final agreements with the police, we would hope to go live on 1 February 2013, so please get as many people to sign up as possible.

This is how you join from your Alert account.

  • At the bottom of this email, click the button “log into site”.
  • If you have forgotten your password you will be sent a reminder
  • On the left hand menu click “message settings”
  • Click on information providers
  • Tick Neighbourhood Return
  • This will bring some additional data we need to provide for the lottery
  • Once you have saved this information you will be joined to Neighbourhood Return.

Thank you.

If you know anyone with dementia or their carer who would like to be part of the scheme they can register on the Neighbourhood Return Website, address below, or can phone Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network head office on 0116 229 3118 or Deborah Ginns, Service Manager on 07584 051004. If you have any specific queries about the scheme contact her on her mobile or If you are forwarding this to people in your local watch not on Alert, please note they should join via the Neighbourhood Return website –