Local dementia charity, Dementia NI, is today celebrating after being awarded almost £460,000 in National Lottery funding to support its work with individuals living with dementia. The charity, which operates across Northern Ireland, will use the funds to run the Dementia Empower and Support Project for local people living with dementia, early stage post-diagnosis.
Dementia NI, a membership organisation specifically for people living with dementia, has been running since 2015 and is staffed by 2 full time and 2 part time employees and assisted with the vital support of volunteers. The charity was founded by five individuals living with a diagnosis of dementia who wanted to ensure that the voice of people living with dementia is at the core of policy, practice and service delivery across Northern Ireland.
Programme Manager, Tara Collins says:
“Our charity has established Dementia Empower and Support Groups throughout Northern Ireland which provide a place for members, who all have a diagnosis of dementia, to come together, reflect, share experiences, provide peer support and consult with other organisations and professionals.
The new funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, which distributes money raised by National Lottery players for good causes and is the largest community funder in the UK, will see these groups expanded to twelve. This means that the number of people with dementia able to participate will increase to 180.”
At the same time, the charity will be able to design members’ personal development plans, enable family members to come together to support each other and launch a new In the Same Boat telephone support service. These will help people affected by dementia to build relationships with others experiencing the same challenges and hopefully enable them to manage the challenges they face and reconnect with their communities.”
John McErlane, co-founder of Dementia NI, who lives with a diagnosis of dementia says:
“We’re delighted that The National Lottery Community Fund has recognised our work in this way. Now, thanks to National Lottery players we will be able to press on with our plans to broaden the range of opportunities available to people with dementia. Participants will benefit from the mutual support of others living with dementia to help come to terms with a diagnosis, use and build on their own strengths, rebuild confidence often lost after a diagnosis, and engage in meaningful empowerment activities.
This is important because it enables people with dementia to have a voice which wasn’t available to this extent until Dementia NI was created. It has been almost 5 years of constant work to get us this far. Now we can look forward to achieving our aims to create empowerment groups for people with dementia in all Trust areas throughout Northern Ireland.”