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Creating Better Lives Evidence and Learning

On Thursday 2nd December, we hosted our Creating Better Lives learning event, the culmination of the Trust’s ‘Community and Dementia: Creating Better Lives’ series of regional events that has been running since 2018.

In November of that year, the Trust began a country-wide tour, engaging with all 14 local health board areas across Scotland, in order to find out how local communities could be supported to create better lives for individuals and families living with dementia. The purpose of this event was to celebrate – and reflect on – this three-year journey, and to share some of the learning and evidence that has been collected along the way.


Of the regional events, some took place face to face, and some had to be moved online, but along the way the Trust has gathered a huge body of evidence about the importance of local support and locally-generated dementia strategies, based on what people living with dementia and unpaid carers have themselves said. 

During the webinar, we looked at the storytelling approach and how storytelling sessions used creative methods to support people to tell their story in a gentle, practical and inclusive way. These sessions then helped form a set of local priorities for each of the areas participating, based on what people were saying. A short animation illustrated the journey of the Life Changes Trust across Scotland and the different local priorities that emerged. Storyteller Shona Cowie then talked about how these local priorities have translated into a set of national priorities. She also demonstrated the power of storytelling in the most compelling way.

  • We also heard from Arlene Crockett, Director of Evidence and Influencing at the Trust, who gave us a more in-depth view of the regional events across Scotland, and also talked about how these collaborations can lead to real change and empowerment, using Orkney as an example.
  • Gillian Skuse from Age Scotland Orkney and John Richards from the Orkney IJB followed up with a discussion about the work they have since accomplished in Orkney, informed by the local priorities and learning from the regional event.
  • Along with the events, the Trust launched a small grants programme in each area, to enable communities to develop their own opportunities to support people with dementia and unpaid carers, and have commissioned an evaluation of this funding programme. Onyema Ibe and Charlie Murphy from Blake Stevenson gave us a taster of their evaluation report, showing the benefits of this ‘local’ approach and what impact these regional grants had on local projects and on people with dementia and unpaid carers.  
  • The webinar ended with a particularly powerful and moving film, ‘Care Is.....’ During each storytelling session, people were asked what ‘care’ meant to them. In this film, a remarkable group of people living with dementia and unpaid carers who have been a part of our Creating Better Lives journey re-shared the beautiful and emotional words people have said, including their own.

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 the complete webinar, below

You can watch the Life Changes Trust Tour' animation, below

You can watch Shona Cowie present the National Priorities, below

You can watch Arlene Crockett's presentation, below

You can watch Gillian Skuse and John Richards, below

You can watch Onyema Ibe and Charlie Murphy from Blake Stevenson, below

You can watch the 'Care Is....' film, below

The Life Changes Trust would like to thank Kainde Manji, The Village Storytelling Centre, Gillian Skuse, John Richards, Onyema Ibe, Charlie Murphy, Touzie Tyke, Dan, Shona, Malcolm, Carol, James, Maureen, Lorna, May, Ann, Robert, Irene, Willie, George, Karys, Annette, Morag, Jerry, Martin, Helga and everyone at HCVF, without whose support these events would not be possible.