Cash award to boost dementia support projects
Published on 26 January 2023 4 minutes read
Church-linked projects across Scotland will be able to help more people living with dementia after impressing funders with the support they offer.
St Andrew's Dementia Hub at St Andrew's Parish Church in Carluke, The Madoch Centre at St Madoes and Kinfauns Parish Church near Perth and Mearns Kirk Helping Hands in Newton Mearns are among 14 organisations receiving funding from the About Dementia, Age Scotland and Scottish Government partnership fund.
St Andrew's Dementia Hub has also been awarded £200,000 by the National Lottery Improving Lives Fund.
This will be used to employ a development manager and creative arts worker and create a new post to develop a garden space, as well as fund its existing support worker and administrative support worker.
The £13,012 awarded by the About Dementia, Age Scotland and Scottish Government grassroots fund will be used to provide weekly light lunches at the Hub, therapeutic massage sessions for carers and people living with dementia, and to help offer accessible coach transport for trips throughout the year.
It will also allow St Andrew's to run a monthly counselling session for families.
Rev Helen Jamieson, minister at St Andrew's Carluke, said: "Supporting families is a new area of work, though we have always supported anyone who comes along, including children and grandchildren of people living with dementia."
St Andrew's began offering support for people with dementia in 2012 with a monthly meeting for around half a dozen people.
It now regularly hosts around 42 people living with dementia and their carers, offering light lunches, creative workshops, dementia friendly walks and a space to meet and chat.
Wee seeds, big trees
"St Andrews is a small congregation, but in 2012 we offered what we had to God – not feeling it was very much – and now…well maybe the Guild theme this year is really appropriate: wee seeds, big trees," Mrs Jamieson said.
"As our health and social care services are so much under pressure, the need for community support is immense.
"We make no charge for the support we offer, except on trips, but I am always humbled by the generosity of those who attend and have attended. We have also been blessed with volunteers who have been carers themselves, returning to support others when their loved one has died."
Some of the Hub regulars are now regulars at St Andrew's Church, she added.
"They come to the Hub, feel welcomed, comfortable and ‘at home' with us," Mrs Jamieson said.
More help for what we love
The Madoch Centre in Perthshire's Carse of Gowrie received £10,000 from the Age Scotland, About Dementia and the Scottish Government Partnership Fund.
Community development co-ordinator Anthea Bircham said this will help support people with a wide variety of needs, as well as their families and carers.
"This will give us more time towards developing something we love doing anyway, but it's not really about the money," she added.
"It's more about working with us and supporting us and about feeding back to the Scottish Government people's experiences and trying to influence services.
"The biggest change for us is that there will be more of a role for those with lived experience of dementia in planning the programme.
"We are also going to be doing more training of volunteers, and try to develop more events that are easy to access for those with memory issues."
The centre began offering support to those living with dementia four years ago when it became apparent there was a need for somewhere people with dementia or memory loss issues could socialise.
"We love that time of the week because the people we meet have great stories and personalities and it's a pleasure to spend time with them," Mrs Bircham said.
A helping hand
Also receiving funding is Mearns Kirk Helping Hands, which grew out of the work of the local parish church, but is now an independent community project.
Its £6,620 award will help develop a dementia friendly café: Monday Meet Ups at Mearns.
"The idea is that it will be member led and suggestions for activities will come from the members," said project manager Vicky Attwood.
"It will be open to anyone with a diagnosis of dementia and their family members or carers. We also have funding for entertainment and transport, which is brilliant because public transport is not great here and that can be a barrier for people.
"Because the area has an older population, there is a relatively higher incidence of dementia, and we wanted to see what else we could do to help."
The Mearns Kirk Helping Hands team of just over 90 volunteers offers a range of activities including Tai Chi, mindfulness and strength and balance classes, a men's breakfast club, a friendship group and its "Blether and Brew" informal coffee afternoons, while in the wider community, a team of volunteers provides one-to-one befriending support for people who maybe struggle to get out on their own.
"We were funded last year to support befriending support to 25 people and we ended up providing it to 41 with a team of three-and-a-half staff," Ms Attwood said.
"It just shows how big a need there is."
To watch a video providing more information on how St Andrew's Hub supports people with dementia, click here.