On 21st September, five representatives from DFC headed down to Perth for the Life Changes Trust dementia in the community conference. The conference was an opportunity for all groups receiving funding from Life Changes Trust to share their progress and successes so far.
Our founder and Chair, Ann Pascoe, was co-presenter of the conference alongside DFC Director Agnes Houston, who is living with dementia. Ann and Agnes opened the event and we were then shown a short film about just some of the projects receiving funding.
Those groups receiving the funding fall into two categories: those that are running geographical dementia friendly communities (or trying to make a particular place dementia friendly) and activity-based dementia friendly programmes.
The first presentation was given by Chris Wilkins who runs Sporting Memories. They are doing some great work by using sport to help tackle dementia, depression and loneliness through talking about and raking part in sport. A key message we took away from Chris’ presentation was that there is no prescriptive model from one group to the next.
Ann then took to the stage, giving an overview of the work we have been doing in Helmsdale and how, in the past five years she had gone from a lone carer with no support to having circles of care surrounding her and her husband.
A presentation on the work underway by Festival and King’s Theatres in Edinburgh to make their buildings and performances more dementia friendly gave a clear indication that they are listening to the voices of people living with dementia. Their work is very exciting and they have some really fun initiatives and performances coming up.
The morning was finished off with a fabulous performance from Centrestage’s Gie it Laldy group. The audience were moved to tears and singing along with happiness in equal measure. Such a fantastic project and worth seeing the group performing live if the opportunity arises.
Plenty of networking took place over lunch with exhibition stands showcasing some of the projects being funded. There was a real buzz about the place with everyone desperate to meet up with others to discuss their learning and potential collaboration.
The afternoon was divided into two sessions with everyone given the a choice from a variety of topics. While some of the DFC contingent found themselves singing and dancing, others were learning more about progress made in other areas of Scotland and partaking in group work around organising an event.
The conference came to a close with a Q&A with some of the representatives from the groups. A highlight was a story from a lady called Helen who attends the West Dunbartonshire dementia friendly communities allotment. Helen shared a wonderful tale of a time that she got lost in M&S and how valuable the help from a staff member had been.
Agnes, alongside Life Changes Trust’s Anna Buchanan closed the event with the message that the conference had been such a success due to people living with dementia being at the heart of it.