About Dementia NI

Dementia NI, based in Belfast, is a local member-led charity formed in 2015 by five individuals living with a diagnosis of dementia.  It was their vision, motivation, drive, skills and knowledge which helped to form the organisation.

The founding members came together through the Alzheimer’s Society two years prior and decided they wanted to be more than an activity group or recipients of care.

Rather, they wanted, as people living with dementia, to enable and empower others living with dementia. They developed the charity mission and logo, each member choosing a favourite colour to represent their contribution. 

Some of the founding members of Dementia NI

Some of the founding members of Dementia NI

Dementia NI was set up by people with dementia to enable them to have their voices heard and improves services for themselves and others. They felt that too often the voice of the person with dementia was not being heard and due to the stigma, people were sometimes even afraid to talk to them.

The original group also wanted to raise awareness about what dementia is and challenge the stigma they have to face on a daily basis, even simple things like the phrases used – NOT "dementia sufferer" and instead a person living with dementia.

When the group set up the first empowerment group, they realised that many others would be out there who needed the same support. From this vision, the empowerment project was started. People with dementia are at the core of this organisation with the founding member John being Co-Chair on the Board of Directors.

In 2015, Dementia NI secured time-limited funding from Atlantic Philanthropies (2015-2018, £300,000)  from the Atlantic Philanthrophies, and the purpose of this investment was to fund a small number of self-directed peer support Dementia NI empowerment groups and staff support. Their principal remit at the time was feeding into consultations and lobbying.

During the following three years a number of groups were established across Northern Ireland for people living with dementia and provide an opportunity for people to come together in their own community and share their experiences, skills, opportunities to have their voices heard and provide peer support for each other. The pilot was hugely successful and helped to lay strong foundations for the organisation we have today.