Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Network (DEEP)

Award: £357,576
Timescale: October 2015 – September 2019

Project aims

To develop a successful and diverse network of DEEP groups throughout the UK (specifically in Scotland with Life Changes Trust funding), so that DEEP group members know they are part of a wider network which provides support and learning opportunities. DEEP groups should become recognised as ‘go to’ groups by policy makers and others and be pro-active in their influencing work.

DEEP group members are an integral part of DEEP decision-making processes.


The Dementia Engagement & Empowerment Project (DEEP) brings together a network of groups of people living with dementia from across the UK.

DEEP supports these groups to try to change services and policies that affect the lives of people with dementia and also helps to co-ordinate network events and campaigns.For example, DEEP groups ran a campaign that challenged the derogatory language used about people living with dementia - see here.

DEEP groups are independent and set their own policy and influencing agendas, but may need support to do so.

DEEP is facilitated by the Community Interest Company, Innovations in Dementia (iD).

More Information

There are currently around 110 people in Scotland in DEEP groups but we expect this to grow significantly in 2017/18.

Trust funding will be used to support the growth, development and strengthening of the DEEP network by:

  • growing DEEP groups in Scotland, and continuing to link DEEP groups together all across the UK
  • supporting the DEEP network to be proactive in its influencing activities - to take action about issues that are identified as important

The funding also supported the appointment of a Scotland co-ordinator, who will work closely with DEEP groups and the Scottish Dementia Working Group (SDWG), which is already a DEEP group, to ensure that local DEEP groups can easily feed into the SDWG where they want to. This would be in addition to influencing policy and practice locally.

DEEP groups currently in operation or development in Scotland: 

  • Scottish Dementia Working Group (based in Glasgow)
  • ALUMNI (Glasgow) 
  • Caertas Dementia Voices (Kirkintilloch)
  • an Lanntair (Lewis and Harris)
  • Highland Dementia Working Group (Highland) 
  • Sports Hub (Port Glasgow)
  • Musical Memories (Oban)
  • User and Carer Involvement (Dumfries and Galloway)
  • East Lothian Dementia Friendly Community (East Lothian)
  • Community Integrated Care Home User Group (Dumfries)
  • Borders Dementia Working Group (Galashiels)
  • Age Scotland (national)
  • Tenants' Participation and Advisory Service (National)

The Trust has asked the DEEP network to facilitate a ground-breaking Conference Project in Scotland in 2017, which will see up to three regional conferences around Scotland organised by and run by and for people living with dementia in Scotland.

This will provide an opportunity to discuss and share experience in depth, and develop issues which are based on that experience. Anyone living with dementia is welcome to join a working group to consider and implement this project.

DEEP groups are also currently involved in consultations around banking and dementia, as well as developing guidelines for a GP led dementia review.

If you are interested in becoming involved in a DEEP group or to find out more about current projects, email Paul Thomas, DEEP Coordinator (Scotland, Northern England and Northern Ireland):

The Trust co-funds this work with Comic Relief and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. 

We are also in the early stages of considering funding a similar network for carers across Scotland.

Outcomes we'd like to see

  • DEEP is a successful and diverse UK-wide network
  • DEEP groups feel part of a wider network that they can influence
  • DEEP is seen as the go-to place for hearing the voice of people with dementia
  • Individual DEEP groups feel confident in their approach to influencing work
  • DEEP is more proactive in its approach to influencing work
  • DEEP groups are involved in more projects than simply consultation work

Additional Information

Awardee Information: