Our highlights this year

As 2016 comes to a close we thought we’d share some updates and highlights from the last year.

Thank you to everyone for your commitment and inspirational words over the last year, pledging to make a difference to the lives of people with dementia, their carers, and families.

Remember support is available over the Christmas season, don’t be afraid to seek it. Find Further information on how to access help  on our website, and you can call the Alzheimer Scotland’s 24 hour helpline for free on 0808 808 3000.


You Can Make a Difference Campaign

Dementia Carer Voices reached a new milestone of 11,000 pledges as part of its mission to give Health and Social Care Professionals and students nationwide a fuller understanding of what it means to be a carer of someone with dementia.

The campaign offers carers of people with dementia a chance to have their stories told to professional and students. The pledges encourage them to reflect on what they have learnt and pledge how they can make a difference to the lives of people with dementia and their carers.

Hospitals, Care Homes, Universities, and Colleges have created pledge trees to help support colleagues to fulfil their pledge, and to allow values based reflective practice. It aims to empower individuals to make a positive difference often by making a simple change,

 “I pledge to always see the person and not the dementia, and to always show compassion and care to others”

Since February 2014, the campaign has engaged with an estimated 60,000 people over the course of 500 talks. These pledges have been collected from different audiences all over the country and have encouraged not only health and social care professionals, but politicians and members of the public to take part by pledging their support to the campaign. Read how people are using pledges to create change here in our case studies.




Launching a Friendly Community Pledge

In partnership with Glasgow Clyde College and Humza Yousaf MSP, Minister for Transport and Islands, Dementia Carer Voices launched a community pledge in Pollok, giving constituents the chance to reach out to their neighbours and help reduce isolation and loneliness.

Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw is a life-long constituent of Pollok, where he was born and later returned to care for his late mum Joan. From the success of our You Can Make a Difference campaign, the team wanted to extend the invitation to the community to make a pledge to the whole community of Pollok, not just to people living with dementia and their carers, but to their neighbours and wider community.

Chaired by Director Irene Oldfather, the event celebrated pledges made by students at the Glasgow Clyde College, introduced participants to their local link worker, and the community assets currently mapped on ALISS.


Journal gives platform to carers of people with dementia

A joint article has been published between the ALLIANCE and the University of Glasgow, based on the letters Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw collected from carers across Scotland. These letters have been analysed by Jane Joy and Diane Willis from the University of Glasgow, with the results of their study now available:

Examining Dementia Caregivers’ ExperiencesThe International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp.59-72, November 10, 2016. By Jane Joy, Thomas James Whitelaw, Irene Oldfather and Diane Willis.


Director Irene Oldfather and Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw have appeared on a number of broadcasts to promote rights and the carer voice, including

  • BBC Radio 4 Women’s Hour
  • Community Chanel
  • STV Glasgow
  • BBC Radio Scotland with Kaye Adams
  • BBC Scotland 6 o’clock news
  • BBC Radio Scotland with John Beattie
  • BBC Radio 4: Four Thought

Our selection of films has also been used as part of training in Universities across Scotland, and various health boards and social work services, helping to promote culture change within health and social care.



Kate Granger

It was an honour for the team when Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw was nominated as a finalist in the Individual category of the Kate Granger Awards 2016. Now in their third year, the awards were set up by Kate Granger, a doctor who worked tirelessly to raise awareness around compassion in the NHS through her #hellomynameis social media campaign. There were more than 130 nominations for this year’s awards, and we’d like to thank Joan, a transformation nurse, for taking the time to nominate Project Engagement Lead Tommy.


Local Hero

Humza Yousaf, MSP for Glasgow Pollok, nominated Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw, lifelong resident of Pollok for a Local Hero award.

Speaking about the nomination, Humza Yousaf, MSP said ‘Tommy has worked relentlessly in highlighting the issue of dementia and in trying to improve the quality of life of people with dementia and their carers.’ 

 Master of the University for Health, Social Care, Education and Policy making influence.


In October, Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw received his honorary masters from the Open University. The Open University has developed several modules which help students to understand and respond sympathetically and appropriately to the issues which dementia presents. They have benefited tremendously from Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw’s insights, and he has used videos and lectures to open students’ eyes to the experience of caring for someone with dementia.




Over the last year Dementia Carer Voices has attended several conferences which have helped promote our activities and the ALLIANCE’s work, as well as a chance to participate in shared learning, and extend our network.




RCN Conference


Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw was invited alongside Nicola Sturgeon, to give one of the Keynote speeches at the RCN Congress 2016 which was held at the SECC.  The event was live streamed all over the world, and it was fitting that the keynote speech followed the RCN’s debate on dementia where Congress adopted the resolution ‘to lobby for better policy, to ensure a fair deal for dementia patients and carers when admitted to acute care.’


Dementia Scotland 2016

The Dementia Scotland 2016 Conference focused on the progress of Scotland’s ongoing National Dementia Strategy, whilst also examining the aspirations of the new 2016-2019 strategy. Director Irene Oldfather presented at the morning plenary session about a human rights based approach to Dementia Care, discussing the Charter of Rights for People with Dementia and their Carers, and how to embed and implement a rights based approach.



Carer Engagement

Dementia Carer Voices endeavours to engage with carers through mixed medium content and approaches in order to ensure the voices of carers are captured, and crucially are used to inform policy and practice.

The project has begun expanding our collection of case studies with podcasts and short video clips in which we speak to people with dementia, carers, and health and social care staff, about their experiences. See our podcasts and case studies here.


Thank you to everyone, have a happy Christmas and happy new year!


Posted in Events

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