In October 2015, the Life Changes Trust invested a total of £680,000 in seven Befriending Projects over a period of five years. Six projects started in October 2015 and a further project started in August 2016.
These initiatives are all very different but they all provide friendship and support to people with dementia and carers in order to decrease loneliness and isolation. They also increase the individual ability to participate in the things that matter to them, including decision making about their life and support.
Befriending and peer support are two of the services which people with dementia and carers say they most value because of the positive impact they have on the person with dementia and/or their carer.
They have been identified through research as key ways in which isolation and loneliness can be reduced, factors which can have a significantly negative impact on a person’s sense of well-being and their physical and mental health.
In providing this funding, the Trust aims to:
- improve the quality of life and well-being of those whose lives are affected by dementia
- support more rapid and effective development of befriending initiatives and practices across Scotland
- share findings and learning from befriending initiatives funded by the Trust in order to improve practice across Scotland and so that others can learn from Scotland
- support the development of positive relationships, mentoring and learning between befriending initiatives in Scotland
- identify ways of establishing long term befriending initiatives that are innovative, sustainable and cost-effective
The Trust was looking to fund befriending projects that would contribute to the following outcomes for people living with dementia and carers:
- I know that I have someone who will listen to me and understand me
- I feel less lonely and more positive about life
- I have an increased sense of well-being
- I feel safe, valued and respected
- I have more confidence to do the things that matter to me
- I can give examples of how befriending has made a difference to my life
Read the first year's report: