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Scotland’s Dementia Awards: Unsung heroes get the limelight they deserve

Rosie Peters and Michael Smith
Rosie Peters and Michael Smith

FORMER Prime Minister David Cameron recently said that dementia should not become an “inevitability of later life” and demanded more be done to help those living with the condition.

People and organisations across Scotland are already working tirelessly every day to do just that, and their efforts will be celebrated at a glittering awards ceremony later this year.

Scotland’s Dementia Awards is calling on the public to nominate those on the front line who are going the extra mile to improve the lives of those affected by dementia.

There are six awards categories, including best educational initiative and best innovation in continuing care, as well as a lifetime achievement award, and entries are now open.

Last year’s winner of the most innovative partnership was Inch View Care Home in Edinburgh for its Food For Life project with Soil Association Scotland.

The home’s garden was turned into vegetable patches and fitted with a wheelchair-accessible polytunnel. It not only brought the local community together but provided the residents with a renewed vigour.

Inch View’s acting manager, Elaine Perry, explained: “Pupils at Liberton High School made doors for the polytunnel and they also worked with residents on a recipe book.

“We were invited to the school for a meal, using some of the produce grown.

“It brought the older and younger generations together and the residents loved speaking with the children.”

The best community support initiative category was won by Here 2 Help.

It was set up by Badenoch and Strathspey Community Transport Company, which provides a service for people who struggle to get out.

Project co-ordinator Helen Morris said: “Our volunteer drivers noticed many of the clients were lonely and isolated.

“Quite often the only time they saw someone was when they came to pick them up. One of our initiatives to counteract that is the befriending project.

“We recruit volunteers and match them with a lonely person depending on their interests. We ask if they can spend an hour a week with them.

“We found a number of referrals were for people with dementia. Last year it was 40% of our clients and now it’s between 50% and 60%.

“It’s been very rewarding and the award last year was recognition for our volunteers and their great work.”

Henry Simmons, Alzheimer Scotland’s chief executive, said: “We hope 2017 will be the awards’ biggest celebratory year yet and we invite people to shine the spotlight on Scotland’s best dementia projects.”

Scotland’s Dementia Awards is a partnership of Alzheimer Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, NHS Health Scotland and the Scottish Social Services Council.

For more information on the awards and the full list of categories, visit scotlandsdementiaawards.org.uk

Entries must be received by 5pm on March 31 and the awards will take place on September 21 in Glasgow.