Letter from the Chair

Following the Spring meeting of the Trust.

The Trust in our spring meeting in March has been considering what lies at the core of what we do.  Of course, we raise money to ensure best practice in the care of those with dementia and their carers, but we also aim to initiate change and reframing of the public understanding of dementia.  How we do this is an important agenda item for us.

We’ve been aware that our annual report can seem a dry affair so we have set a student competition to produce a report later this year that will be livelier and give a better picture of the wide range of projects we are involved in.  We have even been debating about changing our name, but that’s not yet concluded.  The aim is to show that we are here to support people affected by dementia, whether as carers, care workers, or directly from experiencing dementia themselves.

Although we’ve already had interest in our advertisement for new trustees, we are still always looking for more candidates who can put their shoulder to the wheel in our work. Please get in touch with us if you have knowledge and experience that we need.

We agreed two new exciting areas of work.

Chennai Project   We’ve been supporting colleagues in India in their set up of a dementia centre there, and we’ve now agreed further funding to support a conference they are holding there

Disruption Award We are starting a new project to encourage new thinking about dementia.  There is more information about this on the website and in the news section.  I urge you to apply now if you have an idea that needs some funding.   The closing date is July 6th.

Updates

Best Practice Project    This is a stream of funding from the Grand Lodge Chapter which provides award winning education for care workers and nurses through the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling.  The Trust has supported the DSDC for thirty years and this current project is a response to the fact that many workers in the field have no access to high quality education because of funding.  It is the best training available and they are given it for free.  This also pump primes lower cost education for those who can afford something by keeping the courses viable.

Mythbusting Movie    This is a film being made for us by the Raindog company, where a mixture of drama and talking heads experts is aimed to give a more realistic view of what it is really like for the family when someone has dementia.  Progress on filming the experts had been made and the actors will be undertaking their parts in the project soon.  It will be completed this year.

Dementia the Radical Agenda    This film is now on the Trust’s website. It tackles some of the issues that have arisen during the ten years of work that the Trust has been doing in Northern Ireland with funding from The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Dementia and the Arts    The Trust still has copies of the educational resource on dementia and the arts which was produced through the project funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies.  Get in touch if you want to receive these or download them from the website.

The New Old   The Trust has supported a new project website with this name.  This website has film clips, thought pieces and other editorial.  The idea is to create a lively forum advocating for a reframing of old age.  Previous Trust funded writing, film and audio material, including round tables held during the Dementia Festival of Ideas and Artist weekends is also being edited into shorter pieces to use in the coming months.  Once live, further funding will be sought from suitable partners to ensure the site is sustainable into the future. There is a proposal to invite the participants at the April residential session in Belfast to become the “editorial board” for the site and to delay a formal launch until that time.

Now we are off for the Easter break.  Remember that chocolate is said to be good for your brain.  (The research evidence is weak, but we’re not complaining this time!)

Best wishes

Dr Ken Logue
Chair
Dementia Services Development Trust