Make a Difference talks across Universities and Colleges – the class of 2017

As many people take their first steps into nursing and many other areas of health and social care, Dementia Carer Voices are proud to continue our relationships with universities and colleges across Scotland.  We are looking forward to meeting with the class`s of 2017 as they start their journey in to the wonderful profession of caring.

As a continuation of the last 4 years, Dementia Carer Voices will be taking our ‘Make a Difference seminars’ to many 1st year students over September, October and November.

Please see some of the dates confirmed below with more to be added over the next few weeks.

You can also view the inspiring pledges from our previous visits at the link here


  • 15.09.17 2 Educational Seminars at UWS, Ayr Campus, with Fiona McQueen, CNO Scotland and Shaun Maher, Person Centred Lead at Scottish Government.
  • 27.09.17 Educational Seminar at UWS, Hamilton Campus


  • 04.10.17 Educational Seminar at Glasgow City College.
  • 06.10.17 Educational Seminar at UWS, Paisley Campus, with Fiona McQueen, CNO Scotland.
  • 17.10.17 2 Educational Seminars at Napier University.
  • 17.10.17 Educational Seminar at Glasgow Caledonian University


We have many more dates to add please follow this post for updates on our tour across universities and colleges across Scotland as we meet the class of 2017.

If you would like us to visit your university or college or you would like to attend one of the dates above please contact us at

Team DCV 🙂

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Join the team in Arran!

The Health and Social Care Alliance (The ALLIANCE) and partners visit Cooriedoon, Arran

Friday 11th August, 2pm4pm,

Cooriedoon Care Home, Shore Rd, Isle of Arran, KA27 8QH


Cooriedoon Care Home in Arran would like to invite you to an afternoon of conversations and information sharing. There’ll be talks, questions and getting to know each other.


Tommy Whitelaw, UK Engagement Lead – Speaking about caring for his mum and the ALLIANCE’s Dementia Carer Voices project.

 Rhona Millar, Events, Communication and Academy Co-ordinator – Speaking about the ALLIANCE and Health and Social Care Academy.

 Gregory Hill-O’Connor, Our Voice Development Co-ordinator – Speaking about Our Voice.

 Andy Lowndes, ‘The Music Detective’ and Deputy Chair – Speaking about the Playlist for Life charity.

For more information contact Gwen at or 01770 700247


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Dementia Carer Voices film with NHS 24

As part of our ongoing partnership work with the CNO Scotland, Fiona McQueen, Dementia Carer Voices have been interviewed for a short film with NHS 24

Massive thanks to Sheena Wright, Director of Nursing & Care/Interim Director of Operations, Lisa Dransfield, Senior Communications Manager and all at NHS 24 for the kind opportunity to work together.

The short film is in two parts, in the first instance our UK Engagement Lead, Tommy Whitelaw, shared a personal experience looking back at when he was caring for his late mum, Joan.

This film was shown last week to the board and staff at an NHS 24 board meeting and shared on the NHS 24 Facebook page.

You can view the interview below.

A second piece of filming is soon to be published featuring a conversation about the ” 5 must do with me” steps ,which are a big feature of our talks and are embedded  in all we do at Dementia Care Voices

This film will be published soon and we hope to share here when ready.

Once again, a big thank you to all at NHS 24 for the opportunity to work together we look forward to more over the next few months.

Thank you for all the team at DCV




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Join UWS research to help older people

Dr Margaret Brown at the University of Western Scotland (UWS) is running a seminar bringing together student nurses, trained staff and older people to find out what is useful to older people. See below for details on the seminar.

Margaret Brow

The University of the West of Scotland and NHS Lanarkshire

We were lucky enough to win a small sum of money to run a seminar day here at the Hamilton Campus.

We had been trying to encourage our student nurses to become involved in research with older people so we decided to use the fund to bring together student nurses, trained staff and older people, from 12 midday on the 31st August 2017.

We hope to do some work about what research would be useful for older people. We are calling this a Research Ideas Jam. In a ‘Jam’ you work with people you might never have met before, bouncing ideas off one another and building on these ideas.

We would love to have members of the ALLIANCE to work with us on the day. We will have lunch then the work will begin. As you know there is no such thing as a free lunch!!

If you are interested in encouraging these young people to do useful research with older people please do come along. You will be made very welcome.

For more information please contact:

Dr Margaret Brown

Phone 01698 283100 ext 8473



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‘It’s about unleashing, not controlling’

On 26th June, the Health and Social Care Academy hosted ‘Emphasising Humanity over Bureaucracy in Social Care‘; an event that explored what emphasising humanity looks like in practice, not just for those receiving care but for those providing it. 

William Kløverød Griffiths, Policy and Information Intern, Dementia Carer Voices spoke at the event about the work of Dementia Carer Project and the emerging themes from the pledges that have been gathered. In this blog William writes about the You Can Make a Difference campaign and the importance of celebrating the kindness of people with dementia, their families and carers.

President of Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Don Berwick, has been credited with saying “The heart of improvement is not in controlling, it is in unleashing.” For me this really sums up the work of Dementia Carer Voices ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign. The work we do is about unleashing not in controlling what people do, their messages and their stories.

The campaign is about celebrating and unleashing the kindness and dedication of people with dementia, their families and carers. It is to emphasise that they are equal partners in the care they receive. To this end we collect the stories and experiences unpaid carers have in providing care to their loved ones. Dementia Carer Voices are building a range of multi medium case studies, asking people what matters to them. It is our hope that these will provide useful evidence about the lived experience of the lives of unpaid carers. In that regard, we hope to be a platform to unleash the messages of unpaid carers.


The project also shows the lived experiences of people with dementia, their families and carers to those who work in the health and social care system. It is a difficult and underappreciated role that health and social care staff do every single day, day in and day out, but it is essential to the health and wellbeing of millions of people. Thousands of people come into contact with NHS Scotland every day, an estimated 37,000 people living in care homes in Scotland, and many more receiving home care visits. If our campaign can unleash some compassion, care and consideration into every one of those human contacts, then we will make our health and social care system better.

So the work we do at Dementia Carer Voices is about unleashing the passion and kindness of unpaid carers. It is about those people who sit by our beds, knock on our front doors and who we speak to on the phone. It is about the people who treat us when we are unwell, about those who offer kindness when we are vulnerable and are able to make a difference in people’s lives. To all those who follow the five must dos of caring for someone, and place the person at the centre of their care.


When I first joined this project a little over two months ago, I took out a selection of the pledges we have received over the years. Just over 13,000 people have made a personal pledge to make a difference, giving people the opportunity to commit to, to share and celebrate the difference they and we can all make every time we meet someone. That is what this project is about, it is about unleashing the voice of people with dementia, their families and carers. These are people seldom heard, but with our project hopefully gives them the chance to express themselves and take this message to people who make policy.

Dementia is everyone’s business. It is not about buildings or organisations, it’s about the people within and the people we meet, on every occasion it’s about people and relationships. It’s about the life and love stories of families all across the county. So I truly hope the people the pledges, the life and the love stories are about unleashing what matters, who matters and about unleashing the parts we can all play in every moment, every day and every time.

If you would like to learn more about the project, or to sign up to our mailing list, please email


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Northumbria University Senior Student Nurses Add Pledges

Big thanks to Dr Collette Straughair, Senior Lecturer & Programme Leader, Adult Nursing, Sue Tiplady, Senior Lecturer, Pre-registration Adult Nursing and all the team at Northumbria University – Faculty of Health and Life Sciences for kindly inviting Tommy to speak at the senior student Nursing conference on July 24th.


Tommy had the great honour before to speak at the university a few months back you can read the story and pledges from that day here.


We where so very proud to be invited back to meet and speak with the senior student nurses on their last day at the university before beginning practice

Thank you for the most wonderful day and truly inspiring pledges below.


Read our latest analysis of the over 14,000 pledges we have received over the past three years of running the ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign.



To always take the time to ask the patients family if there is anything I can do to help/assist them or if there is anything I can do in general

Raine Bradburn


Remember that everyone is a full person.

Kirsty Gott


I pledge to ensure I care for people based on who they are as a person and what really matters to them.

Cherry McCall


I promise to always see my patients as a person and never a condition.

Amy Coulter


To see the person behind the disease and remember the Joan’s of this world.

Laura Galles



Really listen and find out what is important to the person I am caring for.

Lesley Elliot


To ask what and who matters to my patients and what can I do to make a difference.

Ashleigh Kilty


To always be the nurse who finds out what and who matters.

Emma Anderson


I pledge to care and support people with dementia and their families.

Isabel Wilson


I pledge to see beyond the diagnosis and strive to do my best and make a difference to both the people I care for as well as their carers.


To never forget why I became a nurse. Always remember to get to know about an individual rather than their illness.

Courtney Malone


To have a deeper understanding, awareness and approach to create better experiences for patients, their families and ones surrounding them. Creating trust and making a difference to lives. Be their voice and advocate.

Adele Leslie-Thompson


I pledge to always take the time to listen, to always ask what matters to my patients and to give them the respect and dignity they need, and to always give them as much support as I can and listen with an open mind.

Fiona MacDonald


Is to make my patients the centre of my action.

Anita Nakato


To look after people the way I would want myself or family to be.

Ashleigh Carr


Treat every patient the way I want my nanna to be treated.

Laura Forsyth


To always get to know each and every one of my patients, including who matters and what matters to them.

Kirstie Young


To make a difference a support everyone to the best of my ability.

Lisa Maddison


To take notice of my patient, their family and friends as special individuals.


To never view a patient as their condition and to get to know the person as an individual and be able to care for their needs as an individual.

Shannon Cox


To make each story a positive one despite circumstance. Do everything with love.

Victoria Volpe


To care, get to know the real person and try my best to be patient.

Sophia Lawson


I pledge to treat every patient as an individual, to ensure I care for them in the best possible way with the care and compassion they deserve.

Nicole Kennedy




Listen, process and do. All my service users are people. Let’s not forget that.

Rebecca Scott


Never to forget to look people in the eye and say hello.

Martin Downer


I pledge to never allow a patient to become a condition or number.

Alyson Carrick


I pledge to continue to care for every patient like I would want my family to be cared for.

Seth Plows


I pledge that I will dedicate my life to give my all to patients. I will never forget their story and will continue to treat them as I would expect to be treated myself.

Alex Lawson


To always work with the aim to make a difference and to always achieve what matters to those I work with.

Rebecca Forrest


I pledge to always go that extra mile for my patients and the people they love. To never see my patient for their diagnosis, only the individual they are.

Hannah Mossman


To always take the time to ask each person in my care how they are and listen with an open heart so I can ensure I know what actions I can take to make a difference to their life.

Stephanie McClure


To treat everyone as an individual person and find out about them.

Tracey Shaw


To find out what matters, why it matters and who.

Rachel Turnbull


Ask what matters, and embrace the memories/stories. Seek enjoyment when listening.

Ann-Marie Alexander


To make each day count, make a difference to someone’s life whether it be big or small. Always remember no matter how busy my day of work is, I will always put myself in the shoes of others and give the best care possible/

Stephanie Charlton


I pledge to project my compassion and kindness, while acting as an advocate for my patients and their families to protect the dignity of others.

Kirsty Redford


To provide compassionate care tailored to meet people’s needs and to listen and ask about what matters to them.

Vanessa Matshalasa


To always treat others how I would want myself or family members to be treated. All behaviour is a form of communication. Its my job to understand what a person is trying to tell me from their behaviour and to mirror what they are trying to day to others around them. Being their voice when others are unable to understand.

Scott Anderson


To continue to strive to be the best I can be. To always show compassion and listen.

Hayley Wright


To never forget the difference a small act of kindness makes to someone’s life.

Brogan Tutty


To provide the best quality of care to everyone and make a difference to peoples lives for the better. Make people smile everyday.


To always strive to do my best and more. To continue to be compassionate and caring even in those times that are tough and challenging. To smile, be friendly, to give my all. To be human.

Emma Louise Moan


To treat everyone as an individual and to treat people the way myself, friends and family want to be treated.

Sarah Mawson


To support the patients that are in my care by placing value on their humanity. Make them feel important and heard.

Senzeni Matshazi


Is to ask what matters and never forget my part in someone’s story even if it is just a cameo.


I pledge to always empower my patient to enable them to make informed decisions about their health and social care.

Emily Parr


To always provide a human, listening ear and to strive to find out who needs it most.

Jemma Vevers


To always recognise someone as an individual and treat them as such. Respecting their personhood and making them feel special and beautiful every day.

Ashleigh Price


I pledge to always find out about my patient as an individual, not the condition. So that they never feel like a stranger in a scary place.

Sophie Bell


To ask what matters, listen to what matters and do what matters for my patients and their family, to ensure their last 1000 days are the best they can be.

Jenni Thompson


To understand my patients as people and not an illness and ensure I am aware of what matters to them and their families.

Sarah Wilson


To see the person, learn even just a bit of their story and be brave enough to advocate for them when needed. Be caring, compassionate and courageous.

Rachel Culyer


To treat my patients the way I would expect my family and friends to be treated

Sian Barwick


To always spend extra time reassuring my patients and to learn further about their background.

Annice Dawson


To treat every individual with the dignity and respect they would want. To care and be compassionate to every individual like I would like my family to be cared for.

Sarah Nickelson


I pledge to look past the condition or disease and open my eyes to look at individuals.

Rachel Dawson


Try my best to take time to know my patients needs to provide the care they need

Kiri Foster


To continue to be the best nurse I can be. Keep my patients at the centre of everything I do. Making going the extra mile the normal in my everyday.

Aimee Jenkinson


To always care.

Emma Hankinson


To treat everyone I care for with dignity and respect and get to know my patients even just a little.

Jenny Sykes


I pledge to listen to what matters to people and do what I can to comfort them when they are at their most vulnerable.

Sarah James


I pledge to provide the best possible care for individuals living with dementia. Ensuring to provide a safe, caring and supportive environment for both the individual and their families/carers.

Abbie Clark


To always see past the condition and treat everyone as an individual and the way I would want my grandparents to be treated.


To make a positive difference no matter how big or small to every patients life who I care for or come across.

Sasha Hall


To continue to listen and support the patient in regards to their care and how we can meet their needs and plan for the future.

Courtney Gilbert


I pledge to make the time to help feed, chat to and listen to patients life stories even on the busiest days.

Danielle Campion


I will forever strive to maintain the mystery of the live story. Each and everyone of us deserve for our love stories to always remain magical.

Lauren McGregor


I pledge to always see the person behind the condition.

Charlotte Lee


To provide a friendly face, a smile and a hug if needed to anyone I meet – patient, carer or family. To provide the best care to those who need it, supporting those who need it always.

Beth Ann Hilditch


I pledge to enter every episode of care with compassion – to always include every family member at the heart of the care episode and listen and respect the patients needs and wishes to give them the highest quality care they can receive.

Eleanor Markham


To be involved in changing peoples perception of nursing and the NHS.

Alex Hardy


To treat everyone I care for the way I’d like my family and friends to be treated.

Kirstie MacCoy


To be the best nurse I can, impacting on patients and peoples lives daily, continuing to be caring and compassionate.

Heather Farrow


To always value the time I spend caring for individuals and treat everyone as I would like to be treated.

Lauren Littlewood


Is to care for a patient as an individual and treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.

Michaela Hodgson


To ask what matters to my patients, their families and carers and listen. Adapt my care to involve this.

Jessica Sharp


To continue to support and care for people with dementia, by listening to them, talking to their carers and family members.

Lauren Kirkal


I pledge to get to know my patient for who they are and what they are as an individual.

Emma McIlhatton


To always see the person that I am caring for, not just their condition.

Kate Dalton


Remember the person behind the awful disease.

Katie Mackay-Christie


I pledge to always deliver compassionate care ensuring every contact counts and always taking the time to ask ‘what matters to you’ to patients, families and carers.

Rachel Lee


To remember why I became a nurse. To care and love people like Joan and to never give up, no matter how hard life may be. I am a nurse.

Keiley Bell


I pledge to listen and make a real difference to the lives of the people I care for.

Anthony Jordan

Posted in "You Can Make a Difference" Pledges

Dementia Carer Voices’ response to third National Dementia Strategy

The third National Dementia Strategy was published on 28 June 2017, coinciding with a range of activity in the Scottish Parliament related to the ALLIANCE’s Dementia Carer Voice programme, including a Member’s Debate on dementia in the name of James Kelly MSP, a parliamentary reception and the launch of our latest report – Dementia Carer Voices – Rights and the Carer Voice.

Dementia Carer Voices was represented on the National Strategy Group and welcomes the publication of the strategy.  Below we have detailed a number of our initial views on the strategy.

  • In general, the ALLIANCE welcomes the more flexible approach laid out in Commitment 1 of the National Dementia Strategy – that good quality care should not be prevented by time constraints and instead focus on increasing “personalisation and personal outcomes in post-diagnostic treatment”. Indeed, we argued for the need to move away from a time and task culture towards one defined by care and compassion in our recent publication.


  • From information gathered in our carer survey and other engagement we know the value that carers place on accessing services locally. In light of this we particularly welcome Commitment 2 which focuses on testing and independently evaluating the relocation of post-diagnostic dementia services in primary care hubs. Not only does this serve to provide services locally, but also, in housing services within primary care it has the potential to decrease stigmatisation and improve awareness raising of issues faced by people living with dementia.


  • The ALLIANCE is fully committed to the ‘What Matters to You?’ programme and over the last two years across a range of our projects we have supported the principle of constructive conversations which are person-centred and ask, “What Matters to You”. In light of this we welcome the focus given to conversations in the strategy and the highlighting of the House of Care model. It is worth noting that the House of Care Adopter Programme in Scotland, led by the ALLIANCE, British Heart Foundation, Year of Care Partnerships and Scottish Government, was initiated in September 2014 and works in partnership with five Adopter sites in Lothian, Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Tayside, Ayrshire & Arran and Lanarkshire.


  • Dementia Carer Voices’ work has demonstrated how particularly distressing it can be for families when an adult with dementia goes missing even for short periods of time. We therefore especially welcome that the new strategy has identified this issue and commits to consider the recommendations of Police Scotland’s recent report on this issue (Commitment 16). We look forward to having more information about how this can be taken forward and implemented.


  • We note the content of Commitment 21 that a national policy governance structure for monitoring and implementing the third national dementia strategy will be established. The ALLIANCE would welcome representation on this group to ensure that the lived experience of people living with dementia plays a role in the implementation of the strategy.


  • We welcome Commitment 8 to continue the National Group on Dementia in Care Homes which will help to ensure that the ongoing modernisation of care homes takes into account the experiences of families living with dementia. We look forward to an agenda, programme and timetable for taking this commitment forward.


We also note areas where encouraging progress is being made, but where there is a need for ongoing monitoring to ensure the strategy fulfils its potential for people living with dementia and their carers.

  • In general terms, the ALLIANCE has long argued for reducing the gap between policy and implementation and we hope that in the next three years the new strategy will allow us to focus on high quality, personalised services tailored to individual needs.


  • How the strategy is communicated will also be very important. For carers and people living with dementia language can be a barrier and we look forward to hearing more about how the Scottish Government intends to communicate its policy direction and commitments in a user-friendly way.


  • It is clearly the intention for the strategy to cover the next three years and it is important that where there is clear evidence that policies are having an impact, or not, that precipitous action is taken to address this.


  • In relation to an evidence base for future care we note the evaluation in England around Admiral Nurses and wonder if there may be scope for a short pilot/test of this in Scotland. Our carer survey further noted high levels of satisfaction with the Admiral Nurse experience.


  • We note the range of activities that contribute to dementia friendly communities. We believe that the work of Dementia Carer Voices demonstrates a commitment to ensuring that those living with dementia are valued part of our communities. To this end we were disappointed that our work was not acknowledged, but look forward to future partnership activity with key stakeholders.


  • The Scottish Government and the Scottish Parliament have always supported the principles contained within the Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers. Dementia Carer Voices would welcome further visibility around the UN PANEL approach contained within the Charter. In particular ensuring that people living with dementia and those who care for them are fully familiar with the contents of the ‘Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and Their Carers’.
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