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Community and Dementia: Creating Better Lives in the Scottish Borders

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On Thursday 29th July 2021, the Life Changes Trust held on online event: ‘Community and Dementia: Creating Better Lives in the Scottish Borders’.

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

To deliver this event, the Trust worked in partnership with individuals and organisations from across the Borders to find out what was happening locally to support people living with dementia and their families. We also held 'storytelling' sessions, delivered by the Village Storytelling Centre, to find out what is most important to people in their communities, and what their priorities are for creating better lives.

This conference was slightly different in execution from our previous events. 

It 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 the Borders.

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

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

You can download the Borders Storytelling Report here

At the conference, the findings from our storytelling events and the identified local priorities, was delivered by Dan Serridge, who works for the Village Storytelling Centre. 

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:

  • Christine Proudfoot, Dementia Nurse Consultant, NHS Scottish Borders 
  • Brian Paris, Chief Officer – Adult Social Work & Socia Care, ScottishBorders Council 
  • Jenny Smith, Chief Officer, Borders Care Voice  
  • Mandy Cowan, Dementia Adviser (Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway), Alzheimer Scotland 
  • Ralph Roberts, Chief Executive, NHS Scottish Borders

Prior to the event, we also recorded two local projects talking about how they were still managing to support people living with dementia and unpaid carers of people with dementia. These recordings are available to watch separately, below.  

First, Mandy Cowan and Lyndsay Hornigold from Alzheimer Scotland talked about ‘Changing Lives’ - how their services adapted to the COVID pandemic and how their support has changed in that time. 

And second, Outside the Box created an animation to illustrate their Digital Buddies project, and how, when the pandemic hit, they had to come up with new ways to support people and keep them connected. 

After the conference, the Life Changes Trust puts 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 the key messages that people felt were important to influence change going forward.

You can download the 'Creating Better Lives in The Scottish Borders' Summary & Evaluation Report here

You can watch all of the conference content below. 

You can watch a recording of the live event here (the Q&A session is at timecode 24.24)


You can watch Dan Serridge from the Village Storytelling Centre, presenting on what people in the Borders said were THEIR priorities in their own communities, below.

You can watch the recorded presentation from Mandy Cowan and Lyndsay Hornigold from Alzheimer Scotland, below

You can watch the recorded animation from Outside the Box on their 'Digital Buddies' project, below

The Life Changes Trust would like to thank Christine Proudfoot, Brian Paris, Jenny Smith, Mandy Cowan, Lyndsay Hornigold, Ralph Roberts, Dan Serridge and Outside the Box.