Individual Awards

Individual Awards Pilot Scheme, 2014 - 2015

Award: £193,000
Timescale: 2014-2015

Project aims

The Individual Awards Pilot Scheme was run in Argyll & Bute and Edinburgh in 2014-15 and aimed to provide a small amount of additional financial empowerment to a number of individuals whose lives have been affected by dementia, to help improve their well-being and quality of life.

A secondary aim of the pilot scheme was to find out what people would spend the Award on when given relatively broad choice, and what benefit that might bring in the short and medium terms.


Adequate financial resources can mean the difference between living well with dementia or struggling to cope with living with dementia. Following a diagnosis of dementia, individuals and families can experience increased financial disempowerment and vulnerability, even when they have been relatively well off in the past. Loss of earnings because the person with dementia or carer has had to give up work can lead to circumstances where income diminishes (often unexpectedly), there are unforeseen expenses and credit is curtailed. Sometimes the wider family is in a position to help out, but often this is not the case and it can be embarrassing to ask for help.

For many households, savings and assets are the critical first line of defence against emergencies, unforeseen expenses, and income interruptions. Families that have adequate savings and assets may successfully weather such setbacks, but households that lack this security are financially vulnerable and at risk of falling into poverty.

In addition to the benefits increased financial resources bring, also important are strong relationships, time spent with people and the importance of supporting individuals to talk about what matters to them and what impacts their sense of well-being. People can be trusted to spend money wisely when given time and support to think about it.

More Information

Our Individual Awards pilot for people affected by dementia was a trial scheme which ran in Argyll & Bute and Edinburgh, to see whether or not they would make a significant and positive difference to the lives of people affected by dementia.

The aim was to provide some extra financial support to people with dementia and their carers, to spend on what they decided was most important to them to enhance their quality of life and well-being. 

Applications were open from 1 October 2014 until 15 January 2015, with applications for Individual Awards of up to £500 accepted.

We offered these Awards to people affected by dementia so that they could use them to:

  • spend on something that they thought would make their life better
  • enable them to do something that mattered to them which, without the award, they would find difficult or impossible

A total of 282 applications were received, 58 percent of which were joint applications from a person with dementia and their carer.  The maximum amount any individual could receive was £500 and the maximum that two people could apply for together was £1,000.

After approval by the Awards Panels, £193,253 was awarded to 438 individuals. 

This pilot was run by local organisations in Argyll & Bute and Edinburgh, with support from the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS), in partnership with and on behalf of the Trust. 

Outcomes we'd like to see

  • Peace of mind
  • Feeling connected to others and the world
  • Empowerment - Empowerment enables people to have greater choice and control over their lives.   
  • Improved health and well-being

Case study

Examples of Individual Awards

Transport to a care home

“… without this award I would not have been able to travel and visit, and therefore lose the connection with my wife.”

For people living in a rural area, the transition into residential care can mean moving a considerable distance away. When one woman with dementia, Sarah, had to move into a care home, her husband Alan moved house to be closer to her. However, with a health condition himself, Alan became unable to use public transport for visiting, so he applied for an Individual Award to pay for transport to visit his wife.

Sarah and Alan have been married for over fifty years and his visits mean that she has a connection with her past and her memories, and he feels he is maintaining their relationship, which is extremely important to him.

A laptop

It has opened up so many doors for all of us.”

The versatility of a laptop was highlighted by one awardee, Alison, who has multiple caring roles, and who used her award to purchase one.

Her grandmother, who has dementia, lives in a care home and she can now use the laptop to manage her grandmother’s banking and finances from home. 

Additionally, she has started going back to where her grandmother grew up and taking photographs to download onto the laptop and show her, which has sparked very precious memories of her childhood and younger days.

In addition, the laptop is a lifeline to the whole family as a means of keeping in touch, including through social media, and is not something Alison would have been able to save for in her current situation. She described the award as “a gift that keeps giving”.


PILOT SCHEME 2014 - 15: Feedback was invited from Awardees and Partners and an evaluation report was published in September 2015

Additional Information


The Individual Awards Scheme Phase Two ran in Aberdeen, Angus and Lochaber from April 2018, with a planned closing of 30th September 2018, funds permitting.  However, due to the popularity of the awards, the scheme closed in early September as all the allocated funding had been paid out.

In each area, Phase 2 of the scheme was again run being run by a group of local organisations in partnership with the Trust, led by Care & Repair Aberdeen, Care & Repair Angus and Care & Repair Lochaber.

We will also publish an evaluation report at the conclusion of Phase 2, as we believe the evidence gathered from this scheme will help inform thinking about the use of small direct payments, through SDS, to better support people with dementia and unpaid carers.  The report will be available in the autumn of 2020.