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Since the Trust began, we have funded work across five priority areas, so that people affected by dementia and young people with care experience can say:

  • I live in a place that suits me and my needs
  • I am able to be as independent as possible
  • I get the help I need when I need it
  • I feel safe, listened to, valued and respected
  • I am empowered to do the things that are important to me

In our final years, we continued to invest in these priority areas while also focussing on:

  • the rights of our beneficiaries;
  • the relationships of our beneficiaries; and
  • the influence of our beneficiaries.

Read our strategy for more information

On the 19th and 27th January 2022, the Life Changes Trust hosted two online funding workshops, aiming to help other funders to consider the importance of relationships, lived experience, flexibility and strategic thinking in funding initiatives.

As we approach the end of the Trust, we are focused on leaving a positive legacy for other funders. In order to do that, it is important that we explain what we do and how we do it, as well as share insights into the impact of working in this way. Over the past nine years, we have developed a deep understanding about what leads to significant and positive change in people’s lives.

Using that understanding, we have produced four booklets to help other funders take away something beneficial from our learning. The first webinar focussed on the learning included in two of these publications: ‘Putting beneficiaries at the heart of funding’ and ‘Relationship-based funding’. And the second workshop focused on the two others: 'Being A Flexible Funder' and 'Strategic Funding'.

Read more about these webinars, and watch them back, below


We started this workshop with Carole Patrick from the Life Changes Trust taking us back in time, to 2013 when the National Lottery Community Fund set up the Life Changes Trust.  Carole spoke with Neil Ritch, from the National Lottery Community Fund to ask him about how it all started, why they set up the Trust in the first place and, nine years later, his reflections on our journey.  

We then took a short dive into our booklets on flexible funding and strategic funding.  At the Trust, we believe that a flexible approach to funding – not just in how and what we fund, but also in our approach to funding management and taking risks - achieves a better outcome for our beneficiaries and also for our strategic ambitions. Arlene Crockett from the Life Changes Trust gave us the headline take-aways for each of these booklets.

Over the years we have worked alongside many other funders, including the William Grant Foundation who have contributed funds to our ‘Caring for the Carer’ fund the ‘Keep Well Fund’, our dementia friendly communities initiative, our Technology and Dementia project, and the Frameworks initiative for young people with care experience.  Nick Addington from the William Grant Foundation joined Colm McBriarty from the Life Changes Trust to talk about what made the William Grant Foundation want to work along side the Trust, how they see flexible and strategic funding, and what he would say are the benefits of working in this way.

We then went on to talk more about flexible and strategic funding, but from the perspective of the awardee. Gary Brown now heads up the National Leadership Network for young people with care experience, currently hosted by the Life Changes Trust, but was formerly Lead Officer for Perth Champions Board which also received Trust funding. Julie Twaddell is the Director of Dementia Friendly Prestwick – they received a £15,000 award from the Trust to pilot the first dementia ‘Meeting Centre’ in the West of Scotland. We caught up with them to hear what they had to say.

And finally, we held a Q&A panel session to hear from other funders about their experience of taking a flexible and strategic approach to funding. The panel consisted of:

  • Nick Addington (William Grant Foundation)
  • Roddy Byers (National Lottery Community Fund) 
  • Celia Tennant (Inspiring Scotland)
  • Arlene Crockett (Life Changes Trust)
  • Florence Burke (BBC Children in Need)

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 1.04.35)

You can watch Neil Ritch and Carole Patrick, below

You can watch Arlene Crockett, below


You can watch Colm McBriarty and Nick Addington, below

You can watch Gary Brown and Julie Twaddell, below


During this Funding Workshop, we took a closer look at the theory of relationship-based funding with Celeste Berteau, Evidence and Influencing Coordinator at the Trust, and at the impact of this approach on projects and beneficiaries, on funding management and practices, and on strategic ambitions. 

Next, Louise Allan from the Scottish Dance Theatre spoke with Trust Funding Manager Emma Hutchison about what relationship-based funding looks like in practice, with their programme of creative and physical activities for young people with care experience in the Dundee area. 

Colm McBriarty, the other Funding Manager at the Trust, spoke about how the Trust has been putting beneficiaries at the heart of funding, whether by funding individuals directly, partnering with them to design, deliver and evaluate initiatives, or funding projects THEY told us is important to THEM. 

To illustrate the practical side of putting lived experience and beneficiaries at the heart of funding, dementia activist Agnes Houston spoke to Evidence and Influencing Coordinator Elizabeth Morrison about her own experience of working with the Trust and developing her booklet ‘Sensory Challenges and Dementia.' It paved the way for many other peer-to-peer resources, which have led to an increased understanding of dementia and the experiences of those living or caring for someone with the condition.

We also screened three short films:

  • A snapshot of our own journey, with a glimpse of the relationships we have made across the country along the way. A wonderful trip down memory lane!
  • An excerpt of our Community and Dementia event in Fife, during which co-chairs Irene and Gerry, both living with early onset dementia, reflected on what it means to invest directly in those with lived experience, and the importance of relationships.
  • 'Snowballed’, a film by our Young People with Care Experience programme Advisory Group. In it, they speak about their journey with the Group, devising, developing and overseeing several of our funding initiatives, and providing invaluable guidance to the Trust.

The webinar ended with a Q&A panel session. Our panel included:

  • Louise Allan from Scottish Dance Theatre
  • Agnes Houston, Dementia Activist
  • Emma Hutchison, Life Changes Trust
  • Arlene Crockett, Life Changes Trust
  • Ron Coleman, Deepness Radio/Dementia Activist

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 1.05.30)

You can watch Celeste Berteau give an overview of the 'Relationship-based Funding' Booklet, below

You can watch Emma Hutchison and Louise Allan, beloww

You can watch a snapshot of the Life Changes Trust journey, below

You can watch Colm McBriarty give an overview of the 'Putting Beneficiaries at the Heart of Funding' booklet, below

You can watch Elizabeth Morrison and Agnes Houston, below

You can watch an excerpt of our Community and Dementia event in Fife, below

You can watch 'Snowballed', below

The Life Changes Trust would like to thank Celeste Berteau, Emma Hutchison, Louise Allen, Colm McBriarty, Agnes Houston, Gerry King, Irene Donaldson, Ron Coleman, Neil Ritch, Nick Addington, Gary Brown, Julie Twaddell, Mhairi Reid, Roddy Byers, Celia Tennant, Florence Burke and all the projects we have had the honour to work alongside and learn from over the last 9 years.