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Individual Awards Scheme - Evidence and Learning

In December 2020, the Life Changes Trust hosted two online webinar learning events, looking at the evaluation of our Individual Awards Scheme. 

The Individual Awards Pilot Scheme was run in Argyll & Bute and Edinburgh in 2014-15, and Phase Two ran in Aberdeen, Angus and Lochaber from April 2018 to September 2018.

The Individual Awards Scheme provided a small amount of additional financial empowerment to a number of individuals whose lives have been affected by dementia, to help improve their wellbeing and quality of life. There was considerable diversity in terms of what the Award was spent on, and the flexibility of the Scheme allowed for creative thinking - transport, holidays, gardening equipment, laptops and home improvements are just a few examples.

You can read more about our individual awards here


The purpose of our two webinars was to examine the impact of funding provided by the Life Changes Trust to people living with dementia and unpaid carers in multiple areas in Scotland, and to look at the key issues of delivery – flexibility, choice, independence….  This was done by looking at the key findings of the evaluation of the Scheme, carried out by The Lines Between, and hearing some personal stories from those who received an award.

  • Our first webinar, ‘Dementia: A Whole Life Approach – Individual Awards Policy Learning Event’ was held on Tuesday 15th December

  • Our second webinar, ‘Dementia: A Whole Life Approach – Making Personal Budgets More Personal’, was held on Thursday 17th December.

Tuesday’s webinar focussed more on individual awards in a policy context, and Thursday’s event looked at how personal budgeting works, and how we can improve it.

On Tuesday, Anna Buchanan looked at individual awards and personal budgets from a policy context, we heard some personal stories from individuals who had received an award and Shubhanna Hussain-Ahmed from the Coalition of Carers in Scotland looked at how unpaid carers of people living with dementia used self-directed support during COVID.

On Thursday, Arlene Crocket from the Life Changes Trust gave an overview of the awards, and our approach to empowerment through direct payments to individuals to use in a way that is best for them, and we were joined again by Shubhanna Hussain-Ahmed.

At both webinars, we also heard a bit more about the evaluation of the project by The Lines Between, who produced a report with some key learning form the Individual Awards Scheme.

You can download the evaluation report here

You can download a summary of the report here

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

Tuesday 15th December 2020

You can watch the full webinar below


With all of our projects, once we have issued funding, we also commission an evaluation. The Lines Between carried out this work, and their report looks at where the funds were administered, and what people living with dementia and unpaid carers chose to spend their award on to improve their quality of life, wellbeing and day to day living. The evaluation also looked at the impact and learning from the Individual Awards. 

You can watch Lorraine Simpson from The Lines Between below


We also wanted to highlight some personal stories from our Individual Awards Scheme, to look a little bit at what people living with dementia and their unpaid carers had spent their awards on and their experiences of having flexibility, choice and control. Our friends at Outside the Box took two of these stories and turned them into animations. We showed these at both of our online learning events.

Meet the Johnson family, and Anne and her family, below


Anna Buchanan, CEO of the Life Changes Trust, looked at individual awards and personal budgeting, including self-directed support, through a policy lens.

Watch Anna’s presentation below


And Shubhanna Hussain-Ahmed from the Coalition of Carers in Scotland talked about the findings of a survey they carried out to find out whether unpaid carers and those they care for were aware of the new Scottish Government and COSLA guidance around Self-Directed Support during the Covid pandemic. The survey also asked carers whether they had been able to use their SDS in a more flexible way during lockdown.

Watch Shubhanna’s presentation below


There was also a Q&A session with our panel, Lorraine Simpson, Shubhanna Hussain-Ahmed and Anna Buchanan, which you can find in the full webinar, above.

Thursday 17th December 2020

You can watch the full webinar below:


To start the webinar, Arlene Crockett from the Life Changes Trust gave an overview of Individual Awards, a reminder of how they worked, and what people applied for. Then Janet Biggar from The Lines Between gave an overview of the impact of Individual Awards, as emerged from the evaluation.

You can watch Janet's presentation below


And Shubhanna Hussain-Ahmed joined us again.  You can watch her presentation, above.

There was also a Q&A session with our panel, Janet Biggar, Gillian Skuse and Shubhanna Hussain-Ahmed, which you can find in the full webinar, above.

The Trust would like to thank Lorraine Simpson, Janet Biggar, Gillian Skuse, Peter Work, Shubhanna Hussain-Ahmed and Outside the Box.