£420,000 boost for local Dementia-Friendly Community

A new dementia-friendly community initiative in Dumfries and Galloway has been given the go-ahead thanks to a funding boost of £420,000. The initiative, ‘Creating Dementia Friendly Communities’, aims to support, empower and involve people affected by dementia across Dumfries and Galloway so that, regardless of where they live, they feel valued and understood and are part of a supportive and enabling community.

Dumfries and Galloway has several rural and isolated communities which can present some unique challenges. Engaging people with dementia who are traditionally harder to reach, as well as resident in care homes, will be a particular focus of the project.

The funding will also be used to develop a network of local dementia friends and dementia champions who will bring businesses, organisations and local people together to support and deliver this new community.

Funding has come from the Life Changes Trust, an independent charity set up with a Big Lottery Fund endowment of £50 million to improve the lives of two key groups in Scotland: people affected by dementia and care experienced young people. The Trust will be investing £3million in 14 different dementia friendly communities over the next three years.

The initiative is a result of a partnership involving NHS Dumfries and Galloway, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Alzheimer Scotland Action on Dementia and User and Carer Involvement.

Julie White, Chief Officer, Health and Social Care Integration and Julie Sinclair, Regional Manager, Alzheimer Scotland jointly said, ‘For many people with dementia, it is often the simple, everyday activities which can be the most challenging – shopping, socialising or using public transport. Supported by dedicated staff, we hope to create a “movement” where local people, organisations and businesses work together in our towns and villages across the region to create transformational change and help break down the barriers faced by people with dementia. Those with dementia and their families and carers will be at the heart of decision-making about priorities and how we take this programme forward. We have a strong history of partnership working in Dumfries and Galloway. The integration of health and social care, and a greater focus on locality working present invaluable opportunities. We are very grateful to the Life Changes Trust for giving us the opportunity to take forward this challenging and exciting development.’

Anna Buchanan, Director of the Life Changes Trust dementia programme said: “One of the most devastating issues that can arise from having dementia or caring for someone with dementia is social isolation. Dumfries and Galloway has some rural communities which can make it difficult to reach some of the more remote population. This funding will help establish an environment for people with dementia and those who care for them to feel they are part of their own communities, supported to do things that are meaningful to them, valued as individuals and involved as members of society.”

The Life Changes Trust is committed to funding and supporting the development of Dementia Friendly Communities across Scotland and to supporting transformational improvements in the quality of life, well-being, empowerment and inclusion of people affected by dementia – both those who have dementia and those who care for them.