Scottish Ballet has been awarded £150,000 by the Life Changes Trust to enable them to become dementia friendly. They will use the funding to set up a programme of dementia friendly dance based activities for people living with dementia, their carers and families across Scotland, and raise awareness about the condition.
Central to the programme will be weekly dementia friendly intergenerational dance classes, designed to be fun, accessible and inclusive. People with dementia and carers who participate in these classes will also be invited to attend performances, visit rehearsals and meet the dancers themselves.
Activities will take place in Glasgow, where Scottish Ballet is based, in dance studio space donated by the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. They will also take activities to cities where they tour, such as Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness.
Dance professionals and Scottish Ballet staff will also be given dementia-specific training, so that further activities can be offered to those who are unable to participate fully in the programme, such as those living in care homes.
The project builds on Scottish Ballet’s successful ‘Dance for Parkinson’s Scotland’ project.
The funding is part of a second phase of Dementia Friendly Communities investment from Scottish charity, the Life Changes Trust. The Trust invested £3 million in 14 dementia friendly communities in 2015, the success of which has led to a further investment of £2 million.
Dementia Friendly Communities are places where people affected by dementia, including carers and family members, are included and supported to do the things that matter to them. They also help empower those whose lives are affected by dementia so that they remain integrated in society, live as independently as possible and participate actively in decisions that affect their lives.
Some dementia friendly communities are geographical communities, relating to a specific location like those already established in West Dunbartonshire or Kirriemuir. Others are communities of interest that bring people together because they are interested in similar activities, for example, sport, art, walking outdoors or dance.
Anna Buchanan, Director of the Life Changes Trust dementia programme said, “By funding a diverse range of dementia friendly communities throughout Scotland, we are developing a deeper understanding of how to meet the needs of people with dementia and their families. A diagnosis of dementia can lead to social exclusion and isolation, but dementia friendly communities can help prevent this by keeping people included and supported. It is wonderful to welcome a new and vibrant initiative through the Scottish Ballet dance community. This work will make dance more accessible, will raise awareness about dementia, and will explore the ways in which dance can contribute to the well-being of people with dementia and their families. We look forward to learning a lot from this project.”
Catherine Cassidy, Director of Education at Scottish Ballet said: “Scottish Ballet has over 15 years of experience of leading ballet and creative dance sessions for older adults, including two weekly Dance for Parkinson’s Classes. We are absolutely delighted that, through our new partnership with the Life Changes Trust, we will be able to build on our creative health programme by introducing this exciting new dance and ballet project for those living with Dementia and their families.”