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Dementia Friendly Communities: Evidence and Learning

On the 20th October 2021, the Life Changes Trust hosted an online learning event, looking at the evaluation of Trust funded Dementia Friendly Communities. 


The purpose of this webinar was to look in more depth at dementia friendly communities (DFCs) and the difference they can make to people living with dementia and unpaid carers.

We also talked about the important role DFCs play in providing post diagnostic support to families living with dementia, their community development approach, and the importance of partnership working within DFCs.

We also heard from HammondCare, who were commissioned to carry out an evaluation of the 40 DFCs funded by the Life Changes Trust. They looked at impact, learning and social return on investment (SROI).


Dementia friendly communities (DFCs) are places where people with dementia and unpaid carers are included, empowered, and supported in every aspect of life. DFCs also help to empower people whose lives are affected by dementia so that they can remain an active part of society, live as independently as possible, and participate in decisions that affect their day-to-day lives.

Since April 2015, the Life Changes Trust has funded 40 dementia friendly communities. Some are geographical communities, and relate to a specific location, others are communities of interest that bring people together because they are interested in similar activities, for example, sport, art or walking outdoors. 

  • During the webinar, we heard about the impact that DFCs have had on people living with dementia and unpaid carers, in their own words, via a fantastic animation by Outside the Box.
  • Arlene Crockett, Chair of the event and Director of Evidence and Influencing at the Trust, then looked at how the learning DFCs are generating is making a difference to policy and practice.
  • We also heard from three of our funded dementia friendly communities – St Andrews Church in Carluke,  Scottish Ballet and Capital Theatres in Edinburgh. Helen Jamieson from St Andrews Church spoke with Carol and Malcolm Topper about what their community looked and felt like, what impact it was having on them and how important it was as a means of support. And Lisa Sinclair from Scottish Ballet and Dawn Irvine from Capital Theatres spoke about their individual communities rooted in performative arts, how they started working together and how this has enriched and enhanced their productions.
  • Julie Christie from HammondCare  gave an overview of the evaluation of our Dementia Friendly Communities projects and looked at the extent to which DFCs contributed to better lives for people with dementia and unpaid carers, their role in providing post diagnostic support within their communities, and how they have influenced policy and decision making. 

We also held a Q&A panel session.

Our panel included Julie Christie from HammondCare, Breda Seaman from Dementia Friendly Dunblane, Carol and Malcolm Topper who are part of the St Andrews Church in Carluke DFC, and dementia activists Agnes Houston and Martin Robertson, who were also both on the Project Advisory Group for the evaluation.

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


You can watch the full webinar below (the Q&A panel session is at timecode 1.16.45)


You can watch the 'In Their Own Words' animation, below


You can watch Arlene Crockett's presentation, below


You can watch St Andrew's Church, Carluke DFC, below


You can watch Julie Christie talking about the evaluation, below


You can watch Capital Theatres and Scottish Ballet, below


In 2019, we also made a fantastic short documentary showcasing five diverse and powerful Trust-funded dementia friendly communities in Scotland. Each of them is exceptional and each of them change lives every day. You can watch this below


The Trust would like to thank Outside the Box, Julie Christie, Oonagh Thompson-Bradley, HammondCare, Helen Jamieson, Breda Seaman, Carol and Malcolm Topper, Lisa Sinclair, Dawn Irvine, Agnes Houston and Martin Robertson.