Helping to Remember

‘Helping to Remember’ is a community micro-enterprise that has been established to offer a flexible, highly personalised support to people living with a memory impairment or the early onset of dementia in West Somerset.

John Baly, set up the service following 14 years of being a full time carer for a relative living with dementia. This very personal experience gave John an insight into the difficulties of finding the right support locally and prompted him to see if he could do something positive to support families in a similar situation.

‘Helping to Remember’ focuses its support on more active people, who may have lost confidence or experience frustration and isolation. John describes how this support can mean anything from going on walks, playing scrabble and pub lunches to shopping trips, medical appointments and visiting the b arbers for a haircut or shave. John likes to work in co-operation with the family with a focus on strengths and reconnecting with what people can do.

John explains:

Actively assisting people to get back into a routine that they are comfortable with and doing things together that other people take for granted brings great reward. Everybody has a story to tell and relating back to them some of the interesting things they have achieved in their lives improves their feeling of self-worth and helps to rekindle their enthusiasm for the various activities we do together

Setting up ‘Helping to Remember’ was not necessarily a natural pathway for John, who previously had a career in the banking industry. This is where Rhys from the Community Catalysts’ Micro-enterprise Project in Somerset has been able to help. Through the project John has been able to access specific training, obtain a DBS check, register with the social care e-marketplace, and attend several networking events to link with fellow micro-providers and social work teams.

When I first started with this service I did so without real focus. I knew what I wanted to do but did not really see how I could do it in a professional manner. The micro-enterprise project changed all that. Rhys put me in touch with two trainers who provided me with the necessary expertise in the areas of dementia and mental health that enabled me to work with clients in a far more positive and constructive way. Without this valuable support as well as the regular contact I now have with other micro-providers my business would have remained one dimensional and without a real footing

In meeting John, there is no doubting his passion and interest for the people he supports. Because his service has come from his own experience, it does not fit into any neat categories, and this is where it should stay! To speak to John or find out more about ‘Helping to Remember’ you can make contact at