Helping people with Dementia in Cumbernauld to preserve precious memories

Elderly women sit in a row, chatting

Maureen Flood has enabled a local charity in Lanarkshire to buy the equipment needed for an innovative new pilot scheme.

The Alpha project is an independent charitable organisation which offers support to people who are cognitively impaired. As well as working with people who have early onset dementia, they also support those who have had strokes, MS, epilepsy, and acquired brain damage.

Their funding has been under threat for a number of years, and after facing the prospect of 50% cuts next year, we really feared for its future. The team at Alpha has been working hard to develop the services to ensure that they serve the whole community, so when I heard about the Foundation it seemed like the ideal time to help them put a new pilot project in place.

“The Alpha Project is very personal to me and it really deserves some support, so I was extremely grateful for being given the chance to help.”

The ‘Forget-me-not’ pilot aims to create personalised e-books for sufferers of cognitive impairment and memory loss. The books will be a digital archive of their favourite music, photos, anecdotes, and happy moments which they can use to remember, and share with their family and carers. It will promote personal independence in people with both mental and physical disabilities, and help them to preserve their identities for much longer.

Not only will the books offer a great opportunity for social interaction, but they will provide great contentment to people suffering from conditions such as dementia and brain damage. It could also be used for people in the early stages of cancer whose memory is suffering, that they can share with and leave for their families.

“The application process was much easier than I thought, and if you are passionate about your cause it is easy to find a way to get votes.”

Being part of the Foundation has been excellent, and raised the Alpha Project’s profile enormously. The unit has been in Cumbernauld for many years, but if you exist in a place for long enough, you can be easily forgotten. For us, it started with my friends and family simply showing their support during the voting process by sharing our message on facebook, but it almost went viral in our local area. From our local ASDA supermarket to the fantastic students at Cumbernauld College who were so keen to learn about the project, the support we’ve had from the whole community has been overwhelming.

“The Community Award will allow us to help so improve the quality of so many lives, all of which are feeling the impact of cognitive impairment.”

Winning the award came as a huge relief as it will ensure the great work that the Alpha Project does for our community can continue, and enable us to just change the way in which they are supporting people.

With the grant they can now buy all the equipment needed for the pilot, from iPads to memory sticks, and provide training for staff to deliver the service to everyone who attends the unit. There’s nothing like this being offered in the Cumbernauld area at the moment, so it’s going to be very unique. And once we’ve been able to show the benefits of the project, it should encourage others to provide funding in the future.