Scots housing and care provider Bield has been awarded funding to help it introduce and boost initiatives that directly improve the lives of older people across Scotland particularly for those living with dementia.
The company secured £75,000 from the Scottish Government’s People and Communities Fund, and will channel the funding towards a range of projects with the potential of benefitting more than 250 older people.
The funding is the second largest amount the Edinburgh organisation has been awarded in its 40 years history.
Brian Logan (pictured), chief executive at Bield, said: “We are understandably delighted to have secured this substantial funding which opens up new possibilities to enrich the lives of so many people across our developments.
“The benefits to these projects go well beyond what is plainly obvious – for every older person whose quality of life improves, family, friends and carers also stand to gain immensely.
“The funding is also testament to the success of past initiatives, which have provided fantastic opportunities that have delivered significant improvements to the social, physical and mental health well-being of many people.”
Social justice secretary Alex Neil MSP said: “Every community in Scotland has different challenges and aspirations and there is no one-size fits all approach to tackling poverty.
“That’s why our People and Communities Fund is giving organisations like Bield the power and confidence to address inequalities in communities more effectively.
“Through this funding Bield will develop a range of initiatives to directly improve the lives of older people across Scotland.”
The projects to benefit include:
- Around 25 per cent of the funding has been ring-fenced to secure the re-launch of Evening Care at Thornhill Court in Falkirk, a pioneering scheme which provides a twice-weekly opportunity for older and frail people to get out and about on engaging and social trips out – allowing their carers valuable respite time.
- Funding has also been allocated for the expansion of dementia friendly ‘bistros’ which are designed to provide a safe environment for people and families living with dementia, bringing all the joys of restaurant eating to a comfortable and familiar surroundings. The concept came about after Bield staff, recognising that people who use their service experience feelings of anxiety when they are put in unfamiliar surroundings, were determined to ensure the simple experience of dining out could still be enjoyed. A second monthly bistro will now start at Oakburn Park in Milngavie and Whitehill Court in Kirkintilloch, following on from the huge initial success of these bistros.
- A ‘Playlist for Life’ project, which encourages the use of familiar music to help those with advanced dementia to communicate and connect with friends and family through significant songs, will be introduced in a number of developments with scope to expand further.
- A new arts project will launch at Abercrombie Court, at St Monans in Fife. A tutor will visit the tenants once a week, preparing them to exhibit at St Monans Art Festival.
- The Fife flexicare service will introduce a new exercise class – bringing in a Thai Chi instructor – taking place once a week, moving between a number of developments.
- A hugely popular and innovative scheme to encourage tenants at certain Bield developments to become ‘tech savvy’ will now be rolled out to another five developments following on from the success of the original ‘Fit2gether’ programme, which helped tenants learn to Skype long-distance friends and relatives, send emails and pay bills online.
- Approximately £17,000 will be invested into a bespoke sensory garden at Oakburn Park Day Care Centre in Milngavie. This will be a highly accessible space, allowing everybody who visits the centre to benefit from the outdoor space.
Kathy Crombie, communication and marketing manager at Bield, said: “The reality of this funding is that it will improve so many lives across the whole country.
“There are many individuals at all of our developments who work very hard to enable such positive projects and I know that there will be a lot of excitement generated with the announcement of this funding.
“It is vitally important that older people in this country have access to fulfilling and beneficial projects and this is very much in keeping with Bield’s ‘free to be’ ethos.”