The Life Changes Trust is a charity that invests in and supports the empowerment and inclusion of three groups: young people with experience of being in care, people living with dementia and unpaid carers of those with dementia.
We were created in 2013 with a £50 million, ten-year endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund. We use that money to help drive transformational improvement in the lives of young people with care experience and individuals living with dementia and those who care for them. Their voices, needs and well-being are at the heart of all of our work.
We support young people from the age of 14 up to the age of 26 who are, or have been, “looked after” with support from local authorities in all settings. These include those who are living at home with parents or kinship carers, living with foster carers or living in residential or secure care.
We support people with dementia and their unpaid carers to have choice and a say in their own lives. Unpaid carers are most commonly family members - husbands, wives, children, other relatives, friends...
These three groups have many things in common. They often experience stigma and loss and they can face a range of challenges and unmet needs which need to be addressed if their quality of life and well-being is to be improved - now and into the future.
Challenges experienced by young people with care experience, people living with dementia and unpaid carers can include:
- physical and mental health difficulties
- difficulties with aspects of daily living, such as personal care, cooking, household tasks and shopping
- difficulties with aspects of healthy living, including diet, physical activity and substance misuse
- unemployment or underemployment
- financial insecurity
- housing problems
- mobility and transport problems
- social isolation and exclusion
- inadequate or inappropriate support from health, social care and other services
Young people with care experience can also encounter a number of additional challenges, including poor educational attainment, lack of employment and high levels of contact with the criminal justice system.
Despite these challenges, each of these groups also has personal resources and assets that can be strengthened so that they are empowered to improve their lives and become active citizens.
We want to see a Scotland where all people affected by dementia and young people with care experience see a positive and permanent shift in their quality of life, physical and mental wellbeing, empowerment and inclusion.
We firmly believe that these groups are the experts in their own lives - experts by experience - and that theirs is the most important voice in shaping projects, planning funding, and informing local and national policy.
Our main purpose is to support those voices so that they are heard.