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Community and Dementia: Creating Better Lives in Fife

Fife eventOn Thursday 25th February 2021, the Life Changes Trust held on online conference: ‘Community and Dementia: Creating Better Lives in Fife’.

This was the seventh in our ‘Creating Better Lives’ series of conferences, which are held across the country.

The conference had two exceptional co-chairs: Gerry King, from the STAND group in Fife, which is part of the UK Network of Dementia Voices, and Irene Donaldson who is also a member of the STAND group.  Gerry is an Architectural Technician, now retired, and has a diagnosis of dementia. Irene is a teacher, she was a Primary School Deputy Head, and is also retired. She also has dementia.  

They were joined in chairing duties by Dr Maggie Ellis from St Andrew’s University, who took us though our Q&A panel sessions.

To deliver this online conference, the Life Changes Trust worked in partnership with individuals and organisations from across Fife to design an event that reflected on and celebrated what was happening locally to support people living with dementia and their families.  By doing this the Trust learned from them about what the local priorities are for these areas specifically. 

For instance, where are the gaps in services and provision, what have been the struggles during the COVID pandemic and what has worked well, and what people living with dementia and unpaid carers are saying is most important to them. 

Like all of our regional ‘Creating Better Lives’ conferences, this event was designed to help support local areas – and all of us – to think more deeply about how communities can uphold the human rights of people with dementia and unpaid carers. 

At this conference, we heard:

  • How ‘storytelling’ works to support people living with dementia and unpaid carers have their voices and reflections heard – what matters to them in their journey with dementia.
  • What people living with dementia, their carers and those who work with them in Fife say are THEIR priorities in their own communities. These priorities emerged through a number of ‘storytelling’ sessions that the Trust ran in the lead up to the conference.
  • Local projects and individuals from across Fife highlighting the work they continue to deliver and the support they continue to provide during COVID 19. 

The learning from our storytelling sessions are written into a report and distilled to common themes. These themes shape some of the discussion at the final conferences, so that the priorities of people with dementia and unpaid carers drive conversations and considerations on the day.

You can download the Fife Storytelling Report here

Local projects featured at the conference included: the unique work happening in Fife with the Freemasons Society to spread awareness about dementia and support its members; Alzheimer Scotland‘s ongoing work and what’s been learned about taking events online; OnFife Libraries at the Fife Cultural Trust’s adaptations during the pandemic; and Fife Council’s projects to support people to benefit from technology, to stay connected and to live safely at home.

We also heard from sisters Anna May and Maisie Dury, who paid tribute to their Papa Jack, who had dementia, with a beautiful reading ‘My Papa Jack’ and a song ‘Hide and Seek’. 

After the conference, the Life Changes Trust put together a summary/evaluation report which includes a brief summary of the event, the identified local priorities, discussion points during the Q&A sessions about the local priorities and how local projects are being supported to deliver, and the key messages that people felt were important to influence change going forward.

You can download the 'Creating Better Lives in Fife' Summary and Evaluation Report here

You can watch a recording of our full webinar, or you can just watch some of the presentations, below, whatever works for you.

Watch a recording of the full webinar here, including two in-depth Q&A sessions with our panel. The time codes for the Q&A sessions are 28.18 and 1.49.23


You can watch Anna May Dury’s beautiful reading, ‘My Papa Jack’ here


You can watch Shona Cowie’s presentation on what people living with dementia, unpaid carers and those who work with them in Fife said were THEIR priorities in their own communities


You can watch the ‘Dementia Awareness in the Masons’ presentation here 


You can watch Alzheimer Scotland’s presentation ‘Fife, Dementia and the Pandemic’ here


Watch OnFife Libraries at the Fife Cultural Trust talk about the adaptations they have made during the pandemic


And watch Fife Council’s presentation, courtesy of Paul Short, on supporting people to benefit from technology, to stay connected and to live safely at home.


Arlene Crockett from the Life Changes Trust talked about the Trust’s small grants programme in Fife, and Cath Carter, from the North East Fife Community Hub, talks about what they did with their award.  Arlene also talked about next steps, post conference, and how the Trust would gather all of the learning to inform influencing activities going forward. Watch it here


You can watch Maisie Dury’s beautiful song about her Papa Jack, ‘Hide and Seek’, here


The Life Changes Trust would like to thank Gerry King and Irene Donaldson, Trish and Alan, Maggie Ellis, Anna May Dury, Maisie Dury, Shona Cowie, Dr Gary Stevenson, Fiona McKay, Helen Skinner, Anne King, Anna Maria Cairns, Jo Clark, John Cooper, Ruth McCabe, Janine Adair, Paula Stott, Hugh Hoffman, Barbara Crighton, Anne Haskell, Tracey Carson, Audrey Ross, Caroline Dougall, Faye Smart, Samantha MacDougall, Heather Korabiowska, Paul Short and Cath Carter.