Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £5,001 to £10,000


The number of people being diagnosed with dementia continues to rise worldwide. In East Lothian there are almost 2000 people living with dementia. Most of them are supported by family and friends who also live with dementia.

Memory loss and confusion are often symptoms of dementia but it affects each person differently.

Designs for Life is a new project making life better for people with dementia and carers.

The importance of a good environment has a significant impact on well-being. Thoughtfully designed surroundings can make a positive difference to the quality of life for people living with dementia and their carers, helping to reduce stress and anxiety.

We run practical workshops for carers where they learn more about dementia, share ideas, build confidence, experiment with colour, contrast and light to create positive environments.

We produce visual Life Stories with people affected by dementia and their carers. These stories capture peoples’ lives on colourful fabric boards which can be changed and added to throughout life.

North Berwick Men’s Shed have made the beautiful boards for Life Stories and local businesses supplied materials. Thanks to them as well as other clubs and charities in our community who have supported us, we’ve been able to get this project off the ground. We’ve developed and run taster workshops. They were well attended and we received encouraging feedback with people asking for more. We’ve also helped to transform the interiors at North Berwick Day Centre and Longniddry Church using design principles recommended by the Dementia Services Development Centre, Stirling.

The money would allow us to develop a series of different workshops which we could run in North Berwick and other East Lothian towns. We could also provide dementia friendly design advice to various community buildings throughout the county.

This project helps change lives for the better, gives practical solutions to carers to deal with difficult situations linked to dementia. The Life Stories boards provide a tangible means of self-expression and become an important resource to support identity when memories are lost. Life needn’t stop after a diagnosis of dementia.

‘I wish I’d known about this before – it would have made such a difference’

‘I thoroughly enjoyed the workshop…. both in terms of the influence of colour and just being with a group and meeting some new people. I think a creative workshop is a great idea - a day out for carers!’

‘All this help and support has made sure that I pick the best colours to allow my husband to be relaxed’

‘It was a great introduction to colours and tones and supportive living environments. As well as being very practical and hands on your workshop inspired much personal discussion’

‘I did enjoy the colour workshop and found it relaxing as well as informative. Alison was so gentle and thoughtful. I think it’s very helpful to be aware of our surroundings and their impact.’

‘I really like the colour scheme – it’s all looking really fresh and relaxing - thanks for all your wonderful input’

‘We’ve really enjoyed our time with you, your input has been invaluable. We’re thrilled with the colours and flooring. Our grateful thanks to DFEL and to you for your kindness and patience’

Dementia Friendly East Lothian (Community Interest Company)

Moment of Pride

It makes me proud to be able to use my design skills and experience to help make life a little better for people who are affected by dementia .

Location: East Lothian, UK