Dementia Friendly Prestwick celebrated its first birthday on 4 June 2017 so it’s an ideal opportunity to reflect on the last year and the progress which has been made in such a short time.

Dementia Friendly Prestwick aims to support people with dementia, and their families/carers, in Prestwick to be included and remain part of their community for as long as possible. Since launching Dementia Friendly Prestwick in June 2016 we’ve already made great progress including:

Dementia Friendly Community Garden: Biggart Hospital: With the support of Biggart Hospital, Dobbies Garden Centre and GE Caledonian, we developed a Dementia Friendly Garden in the grounds of Biggart Hospital. This is in the main entrance area to the hospital and open to any member of the public to enjoy. Our raised beds, comfortable seating, wide paths and bright colours means that this space is attractive and safe for everyone to use. The environment is so inviting, that even before we’d finished building it, people were sitting with us and chatting. We’re expanding the garden this summer 2017 with a bespoke summer house with big windows and patio doors beside the garden: giving shelter and beautiful views throughout the year.

Community Cinema with relaxed screenings: Our monthly pop-up community cinema, has so far been attended by over 250 local residents including all care homes in the town. Initially funded by Ayrshire Council and Place Partnership, we secured further funding through a recent participatory budgeting event. Our screenings of classic films are “relaxed”, which means the room we’re in isn’t as dark as traditional cinema, the volume isn’t as loud, we show subtitles on all of our films, people can get up or make a bit of noise without fear of shushing, and cups of tea, coffee, cake and ice cream are provided free of charge. It’s more than a cinema, it’s a social hub!

Cinema attendees commented:
“It’s so relaxing to go somewhere, and know that even if we make a bit of noise, no one is going to stare, judge or not understand us”.

“My husband was diagnosed with dementia five years ago, and this is the first time in a couple of years we’ve gone out socially to something. Thank you.”

Intergenerational Activities: In February 2017, we worked with Alzheimer Scotland to organise an engagement event in the style of the Dragon’s Den, for Prestwick Academy pupils and primary 7 pupils from local primary schools. The pupils were supported to develop design ideas for new innovations to support people living with dementia and then to pitch their ideas to our ‘friendly dragons’. Many drew on their own family experience of dementia in order to inform their thinking. The winning team won the ‘Dementia Friendly Prestwick Innovation Award’. The winning idea ‘snappy reminder by mail’ will be followed up by Alzheimer Scotland to identify opportunities to test this in practice.

We have engaged with some of the local business community to promote dementia friends training. We will be developing this work further in the year ahead. Other initiatives have included running Lingo Flamingo language classes to include people with dementia in the local community and running a range of fundraising events including a ‘purple party’, Christmas card and twiddle mitt sales.

Thank you to all who have supported our work so far. Keep up-to-date with our developments via:@Dementiapwick, Facebook: Dementia Friendly Prestwick.