The dementia-friendly Kirrie Connections community project has secured vital six-figure funding to keep it running for the next three years.
The Kirriemuir initiative, founded three years ago, will receive more than £200,000 from the National Lottery, Life Changes Trust, the Robertson Trust, the William Grant Foundation and NHS Community Innovation Fund in a boost which officials said would allow the Angus project to further develop its pioneering work.
Project co-ordinator Graham Galloway said “We are delighted that such a range of funding bodies have recognised the work we’re doing at Kirrie Connections and have pledged their support to us for the next three years.”
The funding will allow the project to develop a new model of dementia care, the first of its kind in Scotland.
Mr Galloway added: “The Meeting Centre model first started in Amsterdam 25 years ago. “There are now hundreds of these centres all over the Netherlands providing person-centred emotional and social support to thousands of people living with dementia and their carers.”
He continued: “The University of Worcester has successfully piloted two meeting centres in England and we are now going to partner with them to open the first centre in Scotland.
“We are very excited to be trialling this local, community based approach that sits perfectly within the ethos of everything Kirrie Connections is trying to achieve.
“There are over 20 years of evidence in the Netherlands that this approach has direct and tangible benefits for those that take part.
“Families feel more competent to provide care for their loved ones, and people with dementia are happier, more active and engaged with their communities.”
The project will also be focusing on the issues faced by people with dementia who live rurally, and specifically about the problems around transport in rural areas.
Mr Galloway continued: “We are always on the lookout for volunteers to help with the work we do at Kirrie Connections, but we’re especially keen to recruit volunteer drivers.
“Getting people to the hub to take part in sessions in always the first hurdle we face. Any volunteers that can give up a little time to help take people to and from our activities would be a huge help.”
Kirrie Connections’ work has included the creation of a dementia garden and involvement in the Sporting Memories programme.
More recently, a memories mosaic was erected at Cumberland Close as a final piece in the town centre Kirrie CARS heritage project, having been created in a public art project led by local artist Maureen Crosbie.