DFC hits Lottery Jackpot!



We’re delighted to say that Dementia Friendly Communities has received a grant of £9975 in the latest round of the Awards for All Scotland scheme.





This will allow us to move into our own office at the Community Centre in Helmsdale, which is fast becoming something of a focal point for social inclusion in East Sutherland.  It will also let us start putting our plans into action, working with our local partners to make our communities better places to be for people with dementia and their families.


DFC Chair Deirdre Mackay welcomed the news

“A diagnosis of dementia can be devastating for families.  We are seeing more and more people living with the condition and this trend is set to increase.

Deirdre Mackay

‘It was hearing the experiences of families which drove us to set up our group last year. Our purpose is, by pulling local support networks together, to strengthen and develop support for people living with dementia and also those who care for them. 

“I am delighted that Awards For All has recognised the value of this work. The funding will really help us drive forward our projects which include helping local businesses and organisations to be dementia friendly and providing activities to make it possible for people with dementia to live happily and safely in our communities, without fear of stigma.’


We’ve also been enlisting supporters from beyond the Highlands – amongst our specialist advisors is Professor June Andrews – director of Stirling University’s world-renowned Dementia Services Development Centre – who has a special affection for East Sutherland.

“I was thrilled to be asked to be an adviser for Dementia Friendly Communities – and I think it’s wonderful that this social enterprise in the Highlands has been awarded a grant from the Big Lottery Fund.  It reflects the hard work and determination of a small group of people getting together to make life better for people with dementia and their carers. 

“Dementia can be a devastating condition, but people should not be without hope, and this enterprise will focus on positive action to make life as good as it can be for those people and their families. 

“My first visit to East Sutherland was with my partner Charles.  He knows this area well, having lived and worked here as a youngster. We live and work near Edinburgh now, but we love as a family to visit old friends in this beautiful part of Scotland. 

june red


“Rural communities have particular challenges when it comes to caring for dementia.  Sometimes people are expected to travel a very long way to get to hospital or residential care.  What is happening in East Sutherland is very exciting and innovative, and will help provide the evidence we need to support other areas to make things better.

“In the course of my work, I travel the world to talk to people about how they make things better for people with dementia and their families.  We’ve got such a lot to learn from other countries, from their research and also from how they do things on the ground.  The things you need to do to be a dementia friendly community are not complicated or difficult, but it needs a bit of organisation and energy to get it started.

“The invitation to be involved here in Sutherland gives me a great opportunity to contribute this knowledge as part of a team of people with a wide range of professional and local knowledge and experience.”

So here we go folks – let’s do this together…



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