Almost £300,000 of funding is set to take Angus dementia support to a new level across the district.
Ground-breaking charity Kirrie Connections has secured the huge boost.
It became the first in Scotland to pioneer a meeting centre model of local support for people living with dementia and their families.
Kirrie is one of four demonstrator sites across the UK.
And the six-figure funding will accelerate the development of other centres in Arbroath, Forfar and Montrose.
The funding boost was announced as Kirrie Connections’ work was hailed at the official opening of their new base.
Charity CEO Graham Galloway hopes the money will help address the pandemic’s “disproportionate impact” on folk with dementia and their loved ones.
Where is the money coming from and how will it be used?
Kirrie Connections has been chosen as one of Glasgow-based Life Changes Trust’s local legacy partners.
An award of £197,884 will support the development of new meeting centres in Arbroath, Forfar and Montrose.
The centres are already recruiting and training staff, and hope to open in the next few months.
A further £100k has come from Age Scotland’s About Dementia Project in partnership with the Scottish Government.
The Empowering Dementia Friendly Communities programme funds will help expand the meeting centres network.
A second Scottish meeting centre opened in Dunblane last September.
By the middle of 2022, there should be 14 across Scotland.
What is a meeting centre?
Meeting centres are an evidence-based model, originally developed in the Netherlands more than 25 years’ ago.
They revolve around a weekly social club for people with dementia and their unpaid family carers.
Studies have shown their value in helping families adjust to the social, emotional and practical changes that come with a dementia diagnosis.
The Kirrie set-up
Kirrie Connections is open five days a week. The charity was set up in 2015.
Members spend the whole day there and enjoy a variety of stimulating and physical activities.
The hub has a strong focus on the creative. Local artists and musicians attend regularly to help run sessions and develop new projects.
And it is the people with dementia themselves who are the driving force behind the award-winning centre.
They are involved in all levels of decision-making, from the board of trustees down to daily activities.
Praise for pioneering Kirriemuir
Life Changes Trust joint CEO, Arlene Crockett said : “We have supported the early development of meeting centres in Scotland under the leadership of Kirrie Connections.
“Meeting centres and Dementia Friendly Communities together provide a very strong platform from which to deliver a whole range of community-led support.
“The dementia programme at the Trust appointed local legacy partners who would work to keep our priorities alive.
“So we are delighted the funding awarded to Kirrie Connections will be used to invest further in meeting centres across Angus.”
Wellbeing minister Kevin Stewart said : “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of community and peer-led support for people with dementia and their families, of which this is a great example.”
Kirrie Connections CEO, Graham Galloway says the funding will put real momentum into the expansion of meeting centres.
“The past two years have been hard on everyone, but disproportionality so for families living with dementia,” Graham said.
“Local community support has been a real lifeline during this time.
“Meeting centres exemplify a hyper-local approach that can work in any community.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to both the Life Changes Trust and About Dementia for their funding.
“We are very excited to see new meeting centres start to develop across the country.