Dementia Friendly Highlands

Award: £130,000
Timescale: August 2017 - January 2019

Project aims

  • Develop a model and toolkit based on the experience of DFC Helmsdale 
  • Provide support to develop bespoke activities in two pilot sites initially, to improve inclusion, health and well-being
  • Raise awareness of early stage dementia by delivering awareness training, providing information resources and improving public knowledge
  • Feed learning from the two pilot sites into development of the toolkit, which will help with the development of the other six rural communities


In 2015, the Trust funded fourteen Dementia Friendly Communities across Scotland. Dementia Friendly Communities are places where people with dementia and their carers are included, empowered and supported in every aspect of life, from accessing services to using public transport.

Some dementia friendly communities are geographical communities, relating to a specific location like those already established in West Dunbartonshire or Dumfries and Galloway. Others are communities of interest that bring people together because they are interested in similar activities, for example, sport, art, walking outdoors or dance.

They also help empower those whose lives are affected by dementia so that they can remain integrated in society, live as independently as possible and participate actively in decisions that affect their day-to-day lives. 

After another open call for applications earlier this year, the Trust decided to fund a further 14 Dementia Friendly Communities across the country, with an investment of £2 million.


More Information

This project is a partnership between Dementia Friendly Communities (DFC) Helmsdale, Age Scotland and NHS Highland Public Health, and will be based on a dementia inclusive model already developed and used by DFC Helmsdale.

The Helmsdale model ensures that people with dementia and their families are included in their community, and that local activities exist so that they can continue to enjoy things that are meaningful to them, for as long as they wish to.  It also provides services such as ‘Dinner To Your Door’, Men’s Sheds and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Waters’ which provides support for carers.

The £130,000 funding will be used to roll out a model and toolkit based on the experience of DFC Helmsdale to 8 other rural communities across the Highland area, starting with two pilot sites - one in Appin in the West Highlands and the other in Milton, in Easter Ross. 

DFC Helmsdale, Age Scotland and NHS Public Health will work with these communities to ensure that people living with dementia and their carers are involved in the design and development of programmes built around the needs of their particular community.

Read our media release


Our DFCs produce six-monthly evaluation reports that allow us to produce regular learning reports, which are being read by many in Scotland and in other countries. Our latest report covers April 2016 - March 2017.

Download Dementia Friendly Communities in Scotland Report 3 - April 2016 to March 2017

Outcomes we'd like to see

  • improved health and well-being through physical and non-physical activities for people living with dementia and their carers
  • community inclusion for people affected by dementia, and empowerment to activiely participate in community decisions and activities
  • bespoke programmes for each area, developed in partnership with people affected by dementia
  • a robust toolkit which can act as a model for each area 
  • successful pilot projects rolled out across six further communities
  • raised awareness of early stage dementia, with improved public knowledge

Additional Information

Find out more about the project partners: