Caring in company: a pre-Covid snapshot of day centres in south London 

Dr Caroline Green and Dr Katharine Orellana are Post-Doctoral Fellows, National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration South London. (346 words)

Day centres can be a lifeline for some people. Day centres offer activities, meals and a place to connect with others. At the ARC South London, we wanted to find out more about what kinds of day centres are on offer in this part of London and how they operate. We searched the internet for day centres for older people, people living with dementia, people with disabilities and long-term conditions or palliative care needs and people experiencing homelessness across four boroughs of south London.

Our key findings were the following:

  • It was really difficult to find information on day centres even when online (e.g. Google) and in local directories and on social prescribing websites or databases. Information about day services for older people and people living with dementia seemed the hardest to find.
  • Some online information about day services is out of date (sometimes a day centre has closed), and important details are not always available. Fewer than half the websites we investigated specified day centre aims so readers are not able to see what they offer. Many websites did not explain what people would need to do to start using a centre, or provide information about how many people could attend, what charges would be made, or if the building is suitable for people with physical disabilities.
  • Information needs to be more accessible. Potential service users, their carers, and potential volunteers, need to be able to find and use information on day services. New funding is available to employ social prescribers, but they and other link workers need accurate information about local services fi they are to ‘prescribe’ social activities to the right people in the right places. Those supporting students (e.g. studying social work, social care and occupational therapy) looking for placements need accurate information about local services that may be able to help develop the skills of the next generations of health and social care workers

The full report of our mapping is here: Caring in company: a pre-Covid Snapshot of day centres in south London

See more about our work on the Social Care Theme in ARC South London

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This project is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Research Collaboration South London (NIHR ARC South London) at King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.