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Community and Dementia: Creating Better Lives in Greater Glasgow & Clyde

GUUOn the 31st August 2021, the Life Changes Trust held an online conference 'Community & Dementia: Creating Better Lives in Greater Glasgow and Clyde’.  

To deliver this conference, the Trust worked in partnership with individuals and organisations from across Greater Glasgow & Clyde (GG&C) to design an event that reflected on what was happening locally to support people living with dementia and their families, and where services and support needed to be improved. By doing this, the Trust learned from them about what the local priorities are for these areas specifically. 

During the conference, we looked at several local projects and how they support people living with dementia and unpaid carers of people with dementia. 

In the lead up to all of our Creating Better Lives conferences, we also hold 'storytelling' sessions to find out what is most important to people in their communities, and what their priorities are for creating better lives. 

The conference was chaired by Arlene Crockett from the Life Changes Trust, who gave some background to our ‘Creating Better Lives’ events in general, and an overview of our collaboration in GG&C.

We also 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 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

After these sessions, all of the conversations and stories are distilled down into a set of local priorities, based on what people have said. The Greater Glasgow & Clyde storytelling sessions involved those who support people with dementia/unpaid carers, and unpaid carers themselves, and what they told us is reflected in the local priorities. As always, we also invited people with dementia to participate in the sessions, in a way that would suit them, but, understandably, it became clear that this was perhaps not quite the right time for them to do so.

However, local staff and volunteers working with people living with dementia and unpaid carers in GG&C have also taken part in a ‘Train the Trainer’ session about storytelling. When the time is right, and we hope in the near future, they will have the tools to work alongside people living with dementia, using these storytelling methods, so that they too can influence decisions. 

The learning from our storytelling sessions are written into a report and distilled into common themes. These themes shape some of the discussion at the final conferences.

You can download the Greater Glasgow & Clyde Storytelling Report here

Highlights from the webinar included hearing a magical musical collaboration between Gus Harrower and James McKillop, who has a diagnosis of dementia.  James is multi talented, and for this event, he collaborated with musician Gus to produce a song called ‘I Will Always Be Here For You’.

Paul Holland, from East Renfrewshire Trading Standards, gave a flavour of the work they do to prevent people living with dementia and their families falling foul of financial scammers.

We heard from Inverclyde Health & Social Care PartnershipBrenda Friel gave us an overview of their Dementia Care Coordination Project, and spoke with Doreen Borland, an unpaid carer who is part of the dementia reference group for the project.

And we also heard from Louise Smith, who is the Development Officer with the Froglife Trust. Froglife was awarded Dementia Friendly Communities funding by the Life Changes Trust, to work with people living with dementia in Glasgow to encourage the use and improvement of local green spaces, learn about wildlife, reduce social isolation, improve confidence and empower people living with dementia to live well through outdoor activities.  In her presentation, Louise talked about the Glasgow 'Green Pathways For Life' Project.   

We also had a Q&A panel, who answered questions on how the local community can take forward the work to create better lives. The panel was made up of:

  • Jason McLaughlan, Renfrewshire Health & Social Care Partnership
  • Fred Beckett, Social Work, Glasgow City Council 
  • Noleen Harte, Self-Directed Support Forum, East Renfrewshire
  • Maureen McKillop, Unpaid Carer from Glasgow
  • Mark Mulhern, Manager, East Renfrewshire Carers Centre

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

You can watch a recording of the full webinar below (the Q&A session is at timecode 1.04.35)

You can watch Shona Cowie from the Village Storytelling Centre, presenting on what people in GG&C said were THEIR priorities in their own communities, below.

You can watch 'I'll Always Be Here For You' by James McKillop and Gus Harrower below

You can watch Brenda Friel from Inverclyde HSCP and Doreen Borland, below

You can watch Louise Smith from the Froglife Trust, below

You can watch Paul Holland from East Renfrewshire Trading Standards, below

The Life Changes Trust would like to thank James McKillop, Gus Harrower, Shona Cowie, Paul Holland, Brenda Friel, Doreen Borland, Louise Smith, Jason McLaughlan, Fred Beckett, Noleen Harte, Maureen McKillop, and Mark Mulhern. We would also like to thank HCVF, who continue to provide unstinting support for our online events.