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Borders Regional Grants

In November 2020, we awarded a total of £167,112 to ten projects in Borders. The Trust appointed Outside the Box as the Learning Network Coordinator, who will help the projects reach their full potential.   

The ten projects are as follows:


  • Borders Carers Centre - £15,000

Funding was awarded to allow Borders Carers Centre to start a new project “Me First” – a free counselling service for carers of people with dementia.  Many carers are experiencing feelings of loss, frustration, guilt and stress in addition to symptoms of depression, anxiety and reduced emotional well-being. The Centre has continued to provide ongoing emotional support, virtual support groups, and online training to carers but there is an emerging need for one-to-one, telephone, on-line, and when safe to do so, face-to-face counselling support. The rurality, cost and the current restrictions are all barriers preventing carers from accessing counselling and so Borders Carers Centre want to offer free counselling to those carers most in need to improve mental health and well-being, to build resilience, and to sustain the caring role.

  • Perfect Harmony - £10,670

Perfect Harmony provide professional musical entertainment for residents in care homes, social facilities for older people and in central locations in towns in the Scottish Borders with a key aim of having a positive impact on people with dementia. The musicians working with Perfect Harmony work closely with staff in care homes and other facilities. With funding, the organisation aims to deliver four additional concerts in a year. Staff will work closely with the organisation to ensure plans are in place to respond to the current COVID restrictions, and consider alternative options for delivery of concerts, for example online or outdoors. 

  • Queens House, Kelso - £15,000

Covid-19 has presented a number of challenges in the way care and support is delivered to residents. Queens House has identified an increased need for one to one specialist support, particularly for people who are living with dementia, in particular those affected by advanced dementia. In June a new post titled ‘Creative Therapist’ was created to help support people who would benefit from one to one support, working with the person to improve wellbeing, based on supporting the three basic psychological needs – autonomy, competence and relatedness. The post is currently only funded for 3 days a week but the demand for the service is rising because of the changing needs of residents. Funding will increase the number of hours, so that support can be offered to residents through Creative Therapies over 7 days a weeks.

  • Sea the Change - £12,192

Sea the Change is a social enterprise based in the Scottish Borders that helps create happier, healthier, more sustainable communities. It aims to foster a greater appreciation and respect for our coastline and encourage communities to get outdoors and connect with others. Sea the Change now wants to develop their Beach Wheelchair project by building capacity to enable people living with dementia and their carers to have the opportunity to enjoy ‘Dementia Friendly Friday’ events at Coldingham Bay. Working in partnership with local support organisations and groups, this role will provide support to people with dementia and their carers helping to maintain their independence, improving their sense of well-being, and putting them in more control of their lives.

  • Borders Care Voice - £15,000

Borders Dementia Working Group (BDWG) applied for funding to employ a specialist development worker. The role will support the group’s members to be better informed and to articulate their views, access those not able to join the group to help inform and involve them (and collate their views), as well as tackle stigma and attitudes locally by sharing the stories of people with dementia through multi-media.  These stories will be  used in training and awareness sessions and will inform reports and resources outlining the lessons learned from this work to improve the practice of service providers (such as NHS Borders) in how they engage with people with dementia and gather their views in a meaningful way. People with dementia and carers will be involved in directing the project as the worker will report directly to the Borders Dementia Working Group. 

  • Peer to Peer Mindfulness - £14,610

Following a development phase in collaboration with unpaid carers and people living with dementia in the Scottish Borders, this project will deliver 3 x 16-week mindfulness courses across 18 months for unpaid carers of people living with dementia. The project will also develop and pilot 1 x 16-week mindfulness course for people living with dementia and unpaid carers to take part in together. 

  • Instinctively Wild - £15,000

Instinctively Wild will run an outdoors eco-therapy-based programme for people with mid to later stage dementia, as well as their carers. They have devised a programme that meets the needs of the beneficiaries, is responsive to participants and offers a relaxing, social environment. The eco-therapy programme takes place at The Haining House and estate in Selkirk and is run over an eight-week period and with the funding the group would aim to run two blocks in 2021 and one more block in 2022. Sessions run using the sensory experiences of nature to rekindle procedural memories of people taking part. Each session has several linked sensory experiences, via walks and socialising with activities linked to smells/ sights/ sounds/ touch/ taste of nature and outdoors to trigger memory. The beginning and ending of each session are held over many cups of tea and biscuits, as well as music.

  • Newton Community Wing - £14,940

Funding will allow this project to work towards becoming a dementia friendly village by offering training to all residents, work with local businesses and the Community Wing to become dementia friendly spaces that provide a safe and welcoming place for all villagers including those living with dementia. During lockdown many older villagers have really enjoyed being supported by local people through the village COVID response team. They have found that while they have been shielding or isolating they have been able to keep up to date with what is happening in the village while getting shopping delivered or being part of the telephone buddy scheme. The project wants to build on this and facilitate dementia friends training in order to become a community that is supportive of all residents.  

  • Nomad Beat - £6,909

Musical Memories is a new project to provide people with dementia, and carers access to innovative music-making in order to stimulate memories. It is hoped this will make a difference to the lives of older people of the Tweeddale community who are living alone, in sheltered housing or care homes. The project aims to reduce feelings of loneliness and barriers to communication. Longer term, Musical Memories aims to show the improvements music can make in the lives of older people, particularly those with dementia, so it becomes an important part of the care they receive. 

  • St John’s Episcopal Church - £9,810

Funding will be used to set up a Memory Café in Selkirk for people living with dementia and their unpaid carers. Some of the older population have been well supported during the months of lockdown by family members who live close by, but this has not been the case for all. Many have felt increasingly isolated by the lack of social contact, and the loss of regular visitors and activities. The Memory Café will provide a regular opportunity for those living with dementia and unpaid carers to meet socially, renew and/or build relationships, enjoy stimulating activities and share experiences, anxieties and concerns.