A programme of events entitled ‘Community and Dementia: Creating Better Lives’ is coming to the Western Isles on the 16th 17th and 18th of September to find out what people living with dementia and their carers say really matters to them.

The three days will include storytelling sessions, a garden party, art therapy sessions, and finishing with a full ‘Creating Better Lives’ conference.

All three days are planned, designed and developed in partnership with local stakeholders in the Western Isles, highlighting the importance of taking a local approach to supporting people affected by dementia within a national policy context.

The conference will provide an opportunity for local organisations and statutory sector workers to sit side by side with people who have a diagnosis of dementia and with carers to share learning, to collaborate and to discuss what local people feel would be most beneficial to them. It’s also an opportunity for key leaders to launch any new work they are doing around dementia or to seek views on their plans.

The Life Changes Trust is holding events like this all across Scotland, to give those who have direct experience of dementia a meaningful voice in how they want to receive support locally.

One of the local organisations involved in the 3-day programme of events in the Western Isles is An Lanntair, in Stornoway.

They run a project called Cianalas, a dementia friendly community project that shares the inspirational An Lanntair arts programme and new events with people living with dementia and their carers.

Paula Brown, project co-ordinator for Cianalas said, “We are delighted to be involved with this important three day event around dementia, by our funding partners Life Changes Trust, offering the opportunity to share and act upon our thoughts, needs and aspirations as a community"

Day 1 will have a focus on people with dementia and unpaid carers, with creative engagement and storytelling sessions. The same sessions will also be offered to professionals working in the field of dementia.

Day 2 focuses on community connections with a Garden Party at Tagsa Uibhist which will see the official opening of their Sensory Garden and creative art sessions at An Lanntair.

Day 3 will be the main ‘Community & Dementia: Creating Better Lives’ conference, bringing together people with dementia, unpaid carers and staff from independent, statutory and third sector organisations.

The conference will feature local projects whose commitment in relation to dementia awareness and learning is growing. Participants will also hear from people affected by dementia about what works for them to inform how to better support ‘Community & Dementia’ in the Western Isles.

The conference will be chaired by Myra Lamont and Agnes Rennie, both of whom have experience of and an interest in dementia and how those who are affected by it are supported across the Western Isles. The conference will be hosted at An Lanntair.

Arlene Crockett, Director of Evidence and Influencing for the Life Changes Trust’s Dementia Programme, said, “We know from experience that very often it is local, grassroots organisations which, by their very nature of being local, have the most immediate impact on people living with dementia, their families and unpaid carers.  We are very much looking forward to finding out what really matters to people in the Western Isles and how they think support should best be delivered.”

The Life Changes Trust was set up with a National Lottery Community Fund endowment to improve the lives of two key groups in Scotland: people affected by dementia and care experienced young people.