New hub to promote inclusion

Councillor Jeanette Gaul (second right) , steering group chairman Graham Galloway (centre) and Derek Marshall (left) are pictured at the opening.
Councillor Jeanette Gaul (second right) , steering group chairman Graham Galloway (centre) and Derek Marshall (left) are pictured at the opening.

A new facility aimed at raising awareness, changing attitudes and promoting inclusion for people with dementia has opened in Kirriemuir.

KirrieConnections, a dedicated community hub in Bank Street, gained three-year funding totalling £269,000 from the Life Changes Trust.

It has also been supported by Angus Council which leased the information hub – site of the former ACCESS office building – and nearby land, which has been cleared for transformation this year into a sensory and dementia-friendly community garden.

It will provide a safe, friendly, outdoor space where people can take part in gardening, sit and talk, or just watch the garden grow.

The community hub intends to challenge stereotypes and prejudices and focus on what people with dementia can do through awareness sessions, training and support. It will involve local businesses, community groups, schools, youth groups and public sector organisations.

Its logo was designed by Webster’s High School S1 pupil George Fyles, who won a design competition held within the school.

Local councillor Jeanette Gaul, communities vice-convener, said: “I am delighted to see this valuable resource established in Kirriemuir and Angus. It will undoubtedly play an important role in improving the wellbeing and quality of life for people who are living with dementia.

“It will help them to feel more included and less isolated and at the same time help to give them greater independence, choice and control in their lives.

“This funding from the Life Changes Trust will do precisely that – it will change lives for the better.

“Through its collaborative work in the community it will also help to change attitudes and give people of all ages a greater understanding of dementia.”

Derek Marshall, chairman of the Kirriemuir and Dean Partnership, also said he is pleased to see the hub open in the centre town, which will help the area become a dementia-friendly community.

He added: “The benefits to the people living with dementia and their carers will be invaluable.”

Dementia Friendly Kirriemuir will make use of technology and information to help improve support and understanding of dementia and the town’s conservation area regeneration scheme has also been drafted in to look at new and improved signage.

The hub will support befriending and volunteer opportunities for all ages and will act as a focal point to direct people to the appropriate services. Drop-in sessions and one-to-one support will be hosted at the hub.

Anna Buchanan, programme director at Life Changes Trust said: “It is exciting to see the hard work of Kirriemuir Connections come to fruition. We are confident that the dementia friendly community they are building will benefit many people living with dementia, as well as carers.

“This project also has a strong intergenerational element which will bring together the experiences of older and younger people, so they can learn about - and from - each other”.

Volunteers are currently being recruited and trained in support of the project.