News from the Chair

As a new initiative, a news item will appear on the website after the quarterly meeting of the trustees. 

Here is the news from the December meeting from Dr. Ken Logue.

Seasons’ greetings to our supporters and followers!  

The Trustees met early in December.  A major topic was our future direction.   We explored what makes this Trust different and the results achieved in thirty years.  We practically no infrastructure, and so we need to attend to how people are to do business with us.

We reflected on the historical roots and background of the work of the Trust from its inception.

Initially, as support for carers was done by others such as Alzheimer Scotland, the Trust supported the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling to focus on staff working with people who have dementia in Scotland.  Through this we became a catalyst for good practice in the care of those affected by dementia, creating positive evidence based attitudes and approaches to the illnesses that cause dementia.  High quality training was a priority and through the Dementia Centre, sponsored by the Trust over thirty years we created a resource that survived when most others did not. There has been continuous success in UK and international terms.

Funding has changed, in particular an overall drop in government funding and donations.  Even so, donations are greater now relative to government funding. Other changes over 30 years include the much wider availability of training for carers and professionals.  Organisations outside a University setting can offer lower prices, and this matters when other funding dries up. As well as private providers, there are now many ‘in house’ offerings eg in big care home groups or NHS.  Many more universities have now developed programmes, research and an interest in dementia, which we celebrate.  Some free training is also available, funded by government, through the NHS or others.

The value of the long-standing relationship with the Dementia Centre at Stirling University for the Trust should not be forgotten.  One clear and distinct principle of the Trust is the continued focus on training or support. We’re committed to raising money for this.  It is badly needed

The Trust is not involved in lobbying or implementing government programmes. The Trust continuously values its independence and freedom to question anyone and will continue this. Up until the present, we have been relatively invisible, though the work we fund, for example though the Centre, is very well known throughout the world.  It was noted that other universities may need to know about the Trust and its purpose, and this is one area of exploration in future.

The concept of ‘reframing dementia’ has been another important aspect of the work of the Trust throughout its history. We remain committed to changing how dementia is regarded and its impact on society. We want to provide a focus on human dignity and worth of those affected by dementia.

We have some work to do, then.  This includes work on our strategy and communications; even simple things like whether our name is right.  We want to collaborate with others.  We are working on materials such as our annual report to give a more vivid picture of all we do to the outside world. 

Of course a lot of our meeting time is given over to governance and management, and feedback from events that we’ve attended or funded during the quarter.  Headlines include

  • Meeting with the University of Stirling
  • Preparation of new induction material for Trustees in advance of our advertising for volunteers
  • Feedback on a two-year reframing project in Northern Ireland which you can read about elsewhere on this website.
  • A report on a hugely successful project we fund in Chennai in India, where they are aiming to set up a dementia centre
  • Discussing a large donation to the Dementia Services Development Centre for the Best Practice Programme in partnership with the Grand Arch Order
  • Networking invitations and meetings with legal firms including Balfour Manson and Anderson Strathern
  • Updating about the current production of a film that will dispel some myths about dementia
  • Updating about new materials to go on our website
  • Dissemination of our church resource to a conference in Belfast

And last but not least we agreed the design of our Christmas card!  If you would like to buy some in support of our work, we are open to offers!

Our next meeting will be in March, just before Easter.

Till then,

Best wishes

Dr Kenneth Logue