Dementia Friendly Communities Network
What is the Dementia Friendly Communities Network?
The Dementia Friendly Communities Network is a network of Scottish dementia friendly communities sharing support, empowerment and inspiration with people living with dementia and unpaid carers, in their own community.
Who can join the Network?
Every dementia friendly community in Scotland is welcomed, encouraged and supported to join. This includes established groups, new groups, and people interested in starting or joining a community.
What constitutes a dementia friendly community?
A dementia friendly community can be a geographical community, based in a specific place. It can also be a community of interest, which supports people to enjoy an activity or pastime that they all enjoy. There are hundreds of dementia friendly communities already operating in Scotland, and some may not even recognise themselves as such. They include formal groups, social clubs, Meeting Centres, day centres, community networks, support services, and Resource Centres.
They are a place where people living with dementia, including unpaid carers, families and friends, are supported, empowered, involved and influential in the running of the group. They are socially inclusive, and many will have members who do not have a formal diagnosis of dementia.
We believe a community is dementia friendly, dementia-enabled and dementia-inclusive only if people living with dementia say it is.
What does membership of the Network involve?
There will be a monthly online meeting, which will feature contributions from people living with dementia, unpaid carers, member groups, and special guests. Don’t worry if you can’t attend, the meeting will be recorded for you to watch in your own time.
In addition, there will be regular newsletters, email updates, in-person meetings, and special learning events.
The Network belongs to the member groups, so you are encouraged to tell us what you want and need to support your members. Everyone is welcome to get involved, including people with dementia, unpaid carers, and both paid and voluntary staff.
There is no formal membership as such, so you won’t need to sign anything. Instead, we ask that members support some key principles of a dementia friendly community that were identified by the Life Changes Trust in 2019.
9 Principles of a DFC
The Life Changes Trust established nine key principles of a Dementia Friendly Community. These should be common to every dementia friendly community, but how these are expressed will vary because each community is unique. Download the DFC toolkit to learn more.
Why be part of the Network?
- It’s a safe space to meet new people and form new partnerships and relationships
- We can share information about funding opportunities and sustainability
- There will be learning and mentoring opportunities, including formal training courses, peer mentoring and visits to other communities
- We can offer financial support for development learning and study visits
- There will be advice and support for you to try new things
- You can be part of a stronger, louder movement to champion community-based services which have people with lived experience at their heart
- It’s an opportunity for you to influence and contribute to dementia policy and practice in Scotland
- You can help increase the strength and status of dementia support services which did not feature prominently in previous Scottish dementia strategies
- Membership is free, and it won’t be onerous or time-consuming for you
Can I join if I am not a member of a dementia friendly community?
Absolutely, you are welcome to join the Network even if you are not a formal member of a group. This includes people living with dementia, unpaid carers, health and social care professionals, and other individual people who are interested in supporting dementia friendly communities in Scotland.
Colm McBriarty is the Community Development Officer in Age Scotland’s About Dementia team. He co-ordinates the Network and will be happy to answer your questions and offer more information. Get in touch at Colm.firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0131 378 7205.