Four Is The Lockdown Number

This piece was written in April 2020, BY GEorge reid whose father has dementia. It gives a reflection on life a year ago, with a short update in March 2021.

Four is the lockdown number. Why four? Breakfast, lunch, dinner and supper? Well not exactly. Four is the number of times the carers come in the house to empty my Dad’s catheter bag and, if I wasn’t here, make him something to eat and give him his medicine.

I worry for them and for us. It took weeks for the Government to mention carers in homes and even longer to speak about home carers, despite there being adverts on the TV all the time for this service. Why is that? Could it be because the Government have no need for home carers? Are their parents tucked away in their gated retirement homes attended to by a crew of doctors and nurses?

When my Dad’s carers started, they did not have masks, although they have always worn gloves.  I gave them a mask each. They work four days on and switch to having four days off. They are both lovely and friendly with Dad and do a great job. I did think about cancelling their visits and doing the job myself, which is mainly emptying the catheter bag, but starting up again after lockdown would probably not be easy as we would go to the bottom of the list and have to wait a while I would expect. 

They come at 8am, 12 noon, 5pm and 7.30pm. Therefore, my day revolves around these four events. Why? Because, in theory, this is when the virus can enter the house if it’s not squatting here already hiding in plain sight. Come out come out wherever you are, you little BLEEP! Squatting on the toilet flush handle like Demonic Cummings at a Sage  meeting………sorry, I got a stream of consciousness there, I do that sometimes.

I have two buckets of soapy water and two pairs of gloves that I use to wipe down the surfaces and use for nothing else.  The Doc on YouTube, Dr John Campbell, my go to guy for factual info about the virus, says if people can be asymptomatic, then anybody could have it.  The Doc said that there is a shelter in NYC where 86 % of the population had the virus but were asymptomatic and could be pre symptomatic. I could have it and Dad could have it. And, as the advert on the back of the Guardian says, Act Like You Have It. So I do.  I “see” it everywhere.

Coronavirus | Parkstone Bay Marina

To help keep things clean, I have gutted the house. I have removed all ornaments and doilies from every surface and anything we don’t need so I can wipe the surfaces and keep the place clean. Mum won’t recognize the place when she comes home.

In the early days, this was a struggle, with wipes and all sorts of cleaning solutions. Now I use antibacterial washing up liquid and a cloth, thanks to Channel 4’s “How Clean is your House” – THE most important TV program about the virus that I have watched, as they said this is the best way to keep the virus at bay. They demonstrated this by dipping a finger with washing up liquid in to a bowl of water with pepper in it to simulate the virus. An uncoated finger comes out covered in pepper and a coated one only catches a handful of grains. This was all before the leader of the free world suggested we all drink bleach.

But I digress. After each carer’s visit, I use the soapy water to wipe down any surface they may have touched or even breathed on (an impossible task really as the virus can stay in the air for hours) so we always have the windows open. This house is normally so hot you could grow tomatoes.  There’s one bucket for the bathroom; taps, door handles, door, toilet flush, light switch and toilet lid, outside door, both handles and the table.  Then with a quick change over to bucket two, it’s all surfaces in the front room; landline phone, table chair back, door handles, light switches and at night in the bedroom; table, light switch unit and door handles.  The logic being if the carers are asymptomatic, anything they have touched or breathed on could harbour the virus. They do wear gloves but I just can’t take any chances with my dad, so I carry out this process like a theatre orderly with OCD cleaning down an operating theatre before open heart surgery. 

The reason my Dad needs a carer is he is 90 and has Alzheimer’s and up until my mum fell, she was his carer. Our lockdown started early with a self-imposed semi-lockdown after the fall which was the day after her 87th birthday on the 25th of January and she has been in the Royal Infirmary and now in Liberton recovering from a fractured spine ever since. The last time I saw her was the Sunday before Lockdown.

In mid-February, Dad started having problems trying to pee and complained of the pain with his water works and had to be admitted into the Western General.  After about two weeks in hospital, he came home a week before lockdown with a catheter bag strapped to his leg and this is the reason I’m living with him instead of at home with my own family.

The Number Four, again…

Four is the number of exercises I carry out in rotation.  We are five floors up in a 1950s council block, which does have its advantages as I have taken some amazing pictures of a blood orange Venus over the Edinburgh western night sky.  I only go out for shopping once a week as I don’t like to leave dad on his own, as he managed to fall in the five minute changeover between me and my sister, and she found him lying on the floor in the living room. He had somehow managed to rip most of the skin off his arm and it looked like a scene from Zombie Apocalypse with his skin dangling off in large chunks. This happened the day before lockdown. He ended up with the biggest plaster I have ever seen covering the wound.  Anyway, I digress, again, back to my exercise regime… star jumps (60) running on the spot (60) crunches (40), and press ups (25). I do all these four times each day (of course!), bouncing about on the balcony. I play something at 3pm every day from my Spotify or Mixcloud sites or Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide internet radio station.

Four is also the time of day I stand at the back window (whoever designed these flats should have put the balcony at the back as it’s the back that gets the sun). It’s been really hot this week so I make us a cup of tea and dad goes to the kitchen window to get his Vitamin D and his Rich Tea biscuits, and I go to the back bedroom, the room that used to be mine when I lived here and I get my immune system boost as recommended by the Doc.

Shallow Focus Photography of Yellow Sunflower Field Under Sunny Sky

The other important four is 4G (no internet here, it’s like 1985, no digital anything apart from the microwave). No, I don’t have a tinfoil hat in the wardrobe, no conspiracy theories here, my friend. 4G is what I have on my 4 year old Huawei P2 . It needs to be on a permanent charge or it dies. I have already maxed out my data several times. I have access to 2G Wi-Fi via an air B& B on the roof who allowed me to use theirs which lasts for about, yes you’ve guessed it, four minutes before freezing completely, on a good day. Most of the time it doesn’t work at all.

Oh, almost forgot, the two TV’s have inside ariels and the screen freezes several times a day, often for about, yep, guessed it again four minutes. Now this can be handy at times, time to put the kettle on, got for a pee or my favourite pastime, washing my hands.

The lack of proper PPE has been described by other carers in homes as being like Russian Roulette, a pastime that took one of my favourite singers Johnny Ace, and I have no desire to join him in soul heaven just yet. These strange days do engender some strange thoughts.  Is each carers visit a single event? Or is each visit increasing the probability of us catching the virus?

Dad watches a lot of war programs on Yesterday or as I call it Alzheimer’s TV as the programs are shown on a loop (he doesn’t notice). Some WW2 pilots came to the conclusion that each time they landed safely back at base their chances of making it through to the end of the war increased, almost like they have diced with death and become like the Arsenal team of 2003/2004. Are we risking life and limb every day with the full chamber getting closer to our heads? Or maybe it’s all deterministic like DEVS? What is DEVS? Watch it to find out, no spoilers here my friend.

After writing this, there was another four to add. Dad woke me up at 3.05am “George this bag isnae working I canny pee, can you fix it?” It was obvious that he was in extreme pain and could not pass any urine and when I looked at the tube I could see blood in it. After much faffing about with the catheter and heated discussions, I decided to call the ambulance. They arrived quickly and took him away to the Royal Infirmary at 3.58. He should have been going back to the Western General but they didn’t want to take him. I grabbed a Sainsbury’s shopping bag and threw in a change of clothes and essentials like his false teeth. It crossed my mind that I may never see him again and neither would my mum or my sister.  I couldn’t hug him, so I just said ”see you later” as he was being wheeled into the lift, which sounded so lame.  The last thing he said to me was “get inside or you’ll catch your death”.

It took a while, but eventually I dropped off to sleep and was awakened by the sound of the doorbell at 6am. Dad was with the paramedics and he shuffled in the door in his slippers and went straight to bed. When the carer came at 8.30 he told me Dad had some blood in his urine. Today is all about keeping an eye on this situation as he may have to go back into hospital.

I phoned the Royal and got to speak to a doctor who told me it’s a normal thing to happen and may happen again as the catheter gets blocked with small amounts of blood as it’s a thin tube. She said if the urine was the same colour as Rose wine it is ok, if it looks like Merlot, bring him in. Keeping with the alcohol analogy it’s like weak lager, so as Saul would say “It’s all good man”.

Oh, sorry, gotta go, that’s the entry phone buzzer so I have to let the carer in.


March 2021. George’s mother is now home and his father’s dementia does not seem to have worsened, although he is now 91 and has ongoing health problems. They are now receiving more care.

He says “I try to get  both of them do chair yoga and move about more in the flat but it’s a Catch 22 as it can cause pain. It sounds harsh but it’s “use it or lose it”, as their muscles waste away with lack of activity. My dad enjoys singing along to his Playlist for Life, although I’m not sure mum or whoever is in earshot at the hospital  would enjoy it so much…. Hopefully when the better weather comes I can get them out for a spin in a wheelchair so they can feel the sun on their face.”

With thanks to George Reid for this guest blog.

The Power of Spaces

In the last twelve months, how we view and use spaces has changed dramatically. Our homes are now our work spaces, public spaces have been quiet and empty, and virtual spaces are now the new norm for meeting with colleagues, friends and family. Until we found ourselves without physical spaces for meeting and being together, I hadn’t paid them much attention – now I miss them dearly. I had also taken for granted the impact the spaces we occupy have on the work we do but it is clear they play an important role in our engagement with young people.

Last March we witnessed the closing of community centres, classrooms and other dedicated youth spaces across the country. Without much notice at all, those who worked closely with young people were thrust into the virtual world and had to adapt quickly to running online youth group activities, offering support online and from a distance, and learning how to build and maintain relationships with young people without ever spending time together face-to-face. Suddenly the impact that physical spaces have on participation and engagement became very clear.

On Care Day, young people and those who work alongside them reflected on the importance of physical spaces in a workshop hosted by the Trust. The themes of ownership, belonging and safety were consistently reflected in the discussion.

Feeling ownership of a dedicated physical space allows young people to be more authentic and genuinely themselves. This leads to a feeling of belonging and safety. The ability to decorate the space opens up options to display their work and express themselves creatively. That ownership then feeds into possibilities of addressing any power imbalance felt between young people and the services they engage with in that space – suddenly the young person is putting the kettle on and showing you where the toilet is. They feel comfortable and safe. They feel welcome. They feel more in control.

We also heard many stories about the importance of food and sharing meals in dedicated spaces. Those can be the gold-dust moments – preparing food or passing the salt and pepper across the table – that allow relationships to bud and blossom, friendships to form and memories to be made. And as a result, we see more positive engagement and participation from young people and they feel their presence and contributions are valued.

In stark contrast are the reflections we heard about spaces where young people did not feel welcome. In those spaces young people didn’t open up as much or respond to the opportunities around them. They perhaps disengaged or their attendance wasn’t consistent, they didn’t feel they could make full use of the space because it wasn’t theirs or they were reluctant to be truly themselves because they didn’t feel completely safe in the space they were in. The importance of feeling welcome was powerfully illustrated by one group who told us about a caretaker of a shared public space who wasn’t particularly friendly or warm towards the young people and that was enough to spark a decrease in participation.

Although we know how important physical spaces are and there is a hunger from young people and workers alike to reclaim those spaces, we must not overlook the positives drawn from our sudden venture into the virtual world. The breadth of online opportunity that has sprung up over the last twelve months has allowed for further reach and improved accessibility for some young people. It has ensured that young people’s voices continue to be heard and it has also played a vital part in tackling the isolation and loneliness felt by many.

Given the pace at which we have all had to learn about how to occupy virtual spaces and the wealth of knowledge and experience we have developed, it would be a real shame not to give thought to how we provide safe and welcoming spaces online as well as offline to our young people.

My wish for us is that, as we move towards the easing of restrictions and the re-opening of our beloved physical spaces, let’s be mindful of what we have achieved in virtual spaces and take that learning with us. How can we move back to face to face work and invite the virtual world to remain a part of our participation and engagement work with young people?

The Trust is keen to share learning and practice, so please get in touch if you’d like to explore this with us.  

And as for those physical spaces – well, I don’t think we’ll ever take them for granted again. I look forward to witnessing young people and the adults alongside them breathing life back into our cherished spaces very soon. We all know that magic happens within those four walls.  

Laura Graham, Senior Evidence & Influencing Officer, Life Changes Trust

Procurement and all the fun of the fair!

We often associate coproduction with activities that are full of creativity and thrills. In the fairground of coproduction developing policies, designing services and public spaces, creating grants programmes and delivering influencing events are the equivalent of those classic, exhilarating attractions such as the Ferris Wheel, the Waltzers, the Dodgems, Chair-o-planes and the ever-colourful Carousel. However, it’s easy for us to overlook or dismiss the potential in different experiences at the fairground. 

Nobody is going on that ride, it can’t be any good.” 

I can’t see inside there, but it’s probably for kids. There’s no way that’ll be exciting enough for us!”  

It’s the same with coproduction. We are often drawn to familiar practice. As a result, there are all kinds of activities that we neglect or ignore when we think about opportunities for coproduction. I’d like to share just one example with you in this blog – procurement.

What words come into your head when you think about procurement? Perhaps you think of words like: complexity; rules; deadlines; pressure; experts; criteria; reading…yes, lots of reading. I’d also like to hazard a guess that only a limited number of you are drawn to words like fun, interesting, creative or energising. 

Many of the assumptions we make about procurement actually influence the way in which we carry out commissioning. They can lead us to think that there is no room for imagination within established and important rules and regulations. They may even lead us to think that the best (and only) people to be involved in the process are experts who understand all of those rules and who we believe will embrace the complexity and the ‘boringness’ of the task at hand.

But what happens when you shake things up and challenge these beliefs? The short answer is that the procurement process becomes more interesting, inspiring and ultimately more robust. 

We’re at an exciting stage in the lifetime of the Trust as we gather evidence of the impact the funding has had and work to ensure that this evidence continues to influence policy and practice long after the Trust ends in March 2022. We have an ambitious evaluation programme and we are committed to involving young people with care experience in evaluation activities, from fieldwork and data analysis to dissemination and influencing.

The commitment to meaningfully involving young people has also been a key feature of our procurement processes and our Advisory Group (each with their own experience of care) have participated in evaluation panels wherever possible. The evaluation of the Trust’s coproduction approach with our Advisory Group has taken this a step further, with the whole procurement process for the evaluation being coproduced alongside advisors. This included:

  • developing the evaluation brief
  • reading proposals, scoring tenders and shortlisting for interviews
  • designing the interview process
  • interviewing bidders and making a final decision on the preferred bidder.

I’ll be honest with you, it’s the best procurement experience I have ever had. Applying coproduction principles had an impact at every stage of the process. We received more creative proposals because of the brief we co-created and the tasks that we set for bidders at the interview.

The Advisory Group pushed us to be more inventive and much clearer in our expectations of bidders. They asked interesting questions and brought more diversity of opinion to every discussion. It’s obvious that they also felt a shared sense of responsibility to represent the Trust, the Advisory Group and young people with care experience more generally, which is something that Trust staff could never replicate.

Most of the work was done by advisors on a voluntary basis, with paid work linked to very specific tasks such as the reading and scoring of tenders.  The evaluation panel took place during a residential weekend with the Advisory Group, and bidders were interviewed on the Saturday. This may seem like a small thing, but it’s something that made a big impression on me. It required flexibility from bidders and sent a strong message that we want to work with an evaluator that shares our values around participation and inclusion.

It was so important for the advisors to be bought into the evaluation from the start, and coproducing the procurement process with them enabled a really smooth transition into the evaluation itself. Not compromising on our values and principles has also facilitated a clear and productive relationship with the evaluators.

“We were given a really good brief and I liked that we got to demo activities rather than just talking about what you plan to do. There was a different balance of power from the start of the interview, and you really got a strong and positive feeling about the culture and values of the Advisory Group and the Trust. The process also sent a clear message to evaluators from the beginning about who you’re accountable to and how you’ll be working with people. It was a powerful and memorable experience meeting the advisors – we were so pleased to be awarded the work but even if that hadn’t been the case I would have taken away that strong impression of meeting those individuals on that day.”  Senior Researcher, Matter of Focus

Sharing learning and influencing practice is central to our work at the Life Changes Trust. So what are the key things I’d like you to absorb from our experience of taking a coproduction approach to procurement? Don’t ignore the unexplored or shy away from an opportunity that might challenge established practice. Procurement will always have rules that need to be followed to ensure a fair and legal process for all bidders.

However, there is plenty of room within those rules for thrill-seekers and coproduction. So, strap yourself in and enjoy the ride!


Mhairi Reid, Evidence and Influencing Co-ordinator

Care Experienced Week 2020 – focus on rights and equalities


At In Control Scotland, we believe in the power of equality and inclusion. In April of 2018 we received an award from the Life Changes Trust to run a 3 year ‘Rights and Equalities’ project that works with young people with care experience who also have a physical/learning disability. The aim of this project is to work together on improving how to exercise rights and to improve confidence, skills and aspirations. This has focussed on individual opportunities as well as accessibility of groups and other settings.

A range of sessions have been carried out in partnership with various organisations, including with Champions Boards and local groups such as the Care Family Meet in Aberdeenshire. The purpose of these sessions is to develop young people’s capacity to make positive choices and exercise control in their lives. Through this project we also aim to create a network of young people with care experience with a physical/learning disability who feel confident speaking up, and are better connected and included.

Throughout the last two years we have learned a good deal about the sense of identity from young people who have a disability and are also care experienced. We have had interesting feedback from people who moved to adult services for disabilities but are also care experienced. Some people felt that if they went on to be supported by a disability team as an adult there was a lowering of the awareness of their care experience. While neither of those things should define them, they valued the acknowledgement of the impact that having been in care had on their lives, and sometimes that level of understanding wasn’t always there within a disability team.

We need to find ways to support people’s complex identities, making sure that the whole person is heard and understood. I’ve been told I overestimate people, but in practice we usually are able to show that when people are included, listened to and supported in the right way, people achieve more than the system allows them to plan for.

Aaron is a good example of this.

Aaron is friendly and eager to please, and when a colleague was supporting him to decide what new skill he wanted to learn, it could have been easy to present a few options and then run with the first one that garnered any interest. For Aaron, however, taking the time to explore different options was absolutely vital for finding the right fit for him. After a couple months of trying different things, he decided on guitar lessons and has been excelling. For Aaron, the important thing was that people took the time to really hear and understand what he needed to be truly informed and included in decision making in a meaningful way.

It’s not enough, however, to listen and to understand. We also need to act. Professionals and services should be as accountable for what they don’t do as they are for what they do. People often talk about what they can’t do, rather than saying ‘what would it take to do this well?’ That accountability is fundamental.

People who have the confidence and the ability to fight for their rights often feel like they’re starting from scratch. They feel like they’re the first person who’s ever had to challenge the system. We need to continue to gather the individual stories of successes challenging the system, so we can build confidence in better solutions. That way people aren’t starting at the bottom rung of the ladder, having to re-argue challenges that have already been won by others.

Everyone should be entitled to a certain starting level of response. Professionals should not be able to pick and choose what people are entitled to, particularly when it is a matter of national legislation. What we would like to see, therefore, is for all areas in Scotland to have documents outlining what rights and entitlements exist and what that actually means for the people who need these supports.  We would like to see a shift from being reactive to being proactive, where groups and organisations start looking around at their setup and figure out how to make it inclusive ahead of time instead of realising after the fact that they have been excluding others without realising it.

With the right supports and understanding – with the ability to listen differently and act with integrity and accountability – we can create services and supports that work for all young people with care experience and include all of their complex identities.

And we will all be better off for it.

The Importance of Home

What does it mean for a house to be a ‘home’? Is it curling up in your favourite chair at the end of a long day? Sharing a laugh with friends and family? Perhaps it is that feeling you get cooking your favourite meal. While having a place to live is a fundamental need, it can be easy to overlook the importance of feeling ‘at home’. To truly feel ‘at home’, it is not enough to be in a place that meets your needs; there must also be a sense of belonging, a feeling of connection with your community, and the ability to make meaningful choices over your actions and surroundings.

At the Life Changes Trust, we value the expertise of those with lived experience. So when young people with care experience told us it wasn’t enough to live in ‘appropriate accommodation’, we paid attention. In 2018 we introduced the Home and Belonging initiative, which aims to support young people to find a strong sense of home and belonging in their own communities. We knew that young people leaving care had needs that were often not being met, and we knew that having a place to sleep at night was not the same thing as having a home.

We funded this initiative because we believed that young people working alongside practitioners and housing professionals could co-create innovative new solutions to support young people with experience of care to feel safe, secure, and connected in their homes and communities. Funded projects include efforts to create new housing, but also the development of places that can be a ‘home away fae home’ and projects that teach young people how to ‘upcycle’ items and make spaces their own. You can read about each of these projects here.

With COVID-19 and the associated lockdown measures, it has become clear that having a home, not just a place to live, is more important than ever. Whether we’ve been stuck at home during lockdown, working from home, or looking forward to the day when we can once again visit other people’s houses, it’s clear that ‘home’ as a concept has been working overtime. Bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens are now ‘home offices’.  Whether you are a key worker who has been working intensely since March, someone who is only just getting back to work after being furloughed, or a parent who spent the spring trying to home-school their children, our relationship with the idea of ‘home’ has changed significantly.

This year, we’ve all learned a little bit more about how important it is to have meaningful choices about our surroundings. One young person with care experience recently reflected that the pandemic has given the general public more insight into what being taken into care can feel like:

‘Maybe others (outsiders) can have a bit more of an understanding of what it’s like to be taken into care as a young child and totally against your will…the restrictions somehow feel similar…the zero control over the matter…the lack of routine or the loss of it more like…the loneliness…the lack of stability and the not knowing what’s about to happen…I’m almost having similar feelings as to back then.’ Young Person

More than ever, having control and ownership over your own home and how you engage with your communities is vital for young people with care experience. A one-size-fits-all approach never worked well, but in the COVID-19 context supporting young people to have a say over what their support looks like is absolutely vital. The Trust believes that providing young people with a wider range of housing options and housing support services that they have helped shape should go hand-in-hand with corporate parenting duties around housing and continuing care.

Many projects have found that fostering a sense of belonging both at home and in the wider community during this time has become increasingly important, particularly as socialising and emotional connection now looks very different. Organisations have worked hard to change the support they are giving to young people and are now working in new ways to maintain that connection and feeling of belonging in this new, virtual world.

‘The larger question they [young people] would like to explore is: What creates a sense of belonging in a community? They discussed wanting to be understood and how feeling like they were part of the community could alleviate some of their loneliness and isolation.’ – Staff Member, Barnardo’s

With so much time now spent in the home, it is even more important that young people are supported to fill their homes with furniture and decorations that are chosen by them, and which have personal meaning and are suited to their needs. Engagement in community and support activities likewise need to be tailored to the needs of young people, allowing them to engage in ways they want and dip in and out as necessary.

For some young people, virtual engagement is itself a barrier that projects and professionals have worked hard to overcome. For others, however, the shift to virtual engagement has made this easier. Travel barriers are essentially removed, and they can turn on or off video cameras at will.

‘Normally I would have never gone to the groups but it’s really helped and during the lockdown we’ve all been in touch and chat when we’re down and check in on one another so that’s been good while I’m staying [by] myself.’Young Person, Barnardo’s

What we have already seen again and again is that each person’s needs are specific to them, and supports have to be flexible enough to meet those different and often changing needs. This flexibility is evident in the range of Home and Belonging projects funded by the Trust.

We’re currently evaluating the Home and Belonging initiative and look forward to sharing some interim findings later this year. Some things, however, are already coming through loud and clear. Now more than ever we know it was never just about a place to live.

Celeste Berteau, Evidence and Influencing Co-ordinator
Life Changes Trust




Keep Well Fund – supporting young people with care experience during COVID-19

During lockdown it’s been so interesting to notice the growing awareness that it’s ok to acknowledge our vulnerable moments. At Life Changes Trust, we’re quite a small team and we’re lucky that it’s possible for us all to work from home. It has its benefits, especially in terms of cutting down the time spent commuting (none of us miss overcrowded trains and buses), but in our own different ways we are all missing the human connection that comes from gathering together in an office space.

Those brief conversations waiting for the kettle to boil – holiday news, exercise goals, wedding plans, family achievements, film and book recommendations – these are the things that help us to feel connected to others and to be acknowledged as a human being. Keeping that connection going virtually is harder, but the fact that we all know it’s ok to say that it’s been a tough week is important. Sometimes we all need to feel acknowledged, to know that others both see us and truly hear what we are saying.

For our beneficiaries, tough weeks can be the norm. Young people with care experience are all individuals with unique talents, skills and potential. As a group, they also face significant challenges. At the Trust, we believe that in tackling these challenges it’s important to invest directly in young people and get alongside them.

As a funder, making individual grants available to our beneficiaries has been an important aspect of this. We think young people themselves are best placed to decide what can make a difference to them and we believe that they should have choices.

So, when COVID-19 struck, we worked with our Advisory Group (who all have their own experience of care) to design an individual grants offer which could mitigate the effects of lockdown. The idea was to offer something distinct from emergency funding (although we made contributions to these funds too), with a focus on supporting physical and mental wellbeing during lockdown. We called it the Keep Well Fund.

It’s fair to say that we were inundated. We received well over 800 applications and many of them were tough to read. It was sobering to see the confirmation of much of what we already know – that young people with experience of the care system are affected by inequalities in relation to health, income, digital access, housing and other areas of life. It is vital that we acknowledge this reality and let young people know that we see and hear them. Often they do not have access to the same networks of extended family and community that many of us turn to. The risk is that young people feel invisible.

We have paid close attention to what young people have told us through the Keep Well Fund. It’s been a privilege to have a glimpse into their lives. It’s also been humbling to read about the creativity and determination of young people not to allow the pandemic to pull them under. Almost without exception, young people have been very honest about the impact of lockdown on their mental health. By providing funding for things like fitness equipment, bicycles, tablets, arts materials, garden equipment and musical instruments we know that in a small way we are helping combat the mental health challenges. We also understand that just knowing someone out there is listening and cares enough to make an offer of concrete support can be equally important. We are so appreciative of the funders who stepped forward to demonstrate that they care – the William Grant Foundation, the Cattanach Trust, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, Cycling Scotland and Inspiring Scotland all provided funds to help us reach more young people.

Through the Keep Well Fund, young people with care experience have communicated their sense of isolation even when living with carers, partners or children. Through our work at the Trust, we know that relationships are fundamental to creating long-term change for young people with care experience. By funding programmes such as mentoring and offering opportunities for young people to get active and creative in their communities we have steadily been working to expand the networks around young people. Our Champions Boards, now active in 21 Local Authority areas across Scotland, reach out to young people and create a variety of opportunities to get engaged. Through our Home and Belonging initiative, we’re learning more about what’s needed not only to make sure young people have a roof over their heads, but also how to help them feel that they belong in their communities.

The global Covid-19 pandemic of 2020 has starkly demonstrated the volatility and uncertainty of our world. It has highlighted the inequalities that continue to stifle potential and limit quality of life – and threatens to deepen these inequalities. It has also showcased the determination of the human spirit and our capacity to care for one another. Young people with care experience have remarkable resilience, creativity and capacity to connect. When this is combined with the commitment and passion of the people around them – carers, key workers, mentors, youth workers, social care staff, health professionals, volunteers – collectively we have the potential to create a powerful human network. Through this network and others like it across society, there is a real opportunity to think afresh about the type of society we want to live in. A society which keeps all of its people well.


Carole Patrick
Director of Evidence and Influencing (Care Experienced Young People)

Evaluation of the Life Changes Trust peer support programme

Peer Support

The Life Changes Trust funds five peer support initiatives across Scotland. This funding came about because peer support is something which people living with dementia and unpaid carers say they most value because of the positive impact it has on the person with dementia and unpaid carers. Peer support can help keep people more socially connected, giving them confidence and motivation to participate in their communities. It can also help them to feel valued by being listened to and being able to help others with similar experiences. Peer support builds on the skills and knowledge that already exist in the community. Each project was given five years funding in 2015.

Evaluation Overview

This evaluation, conducted by The University of Stirling, has the following aims and objectives:

  • to determine how peer support benefits both individuals and society
  • to explore what constitutes good practice when delivering peer support
  • to share evidence to promote greater awareness about the benefits of peer support and what works for effective peer support

Researchers at The University of Stirling have reviewed self-evaluation data provided by the five projects, funded by the Life Changes Trust, who deliver peer support.  They are also conducting new research at four of these projects to engage staff, volunteers, people receiving support and partner organisations.

Initial Findings

Peer support enables people with dementia and unpaid carers to live better lives and remain socially connected.  A video has been created to highlight the different ways in which unpaid carers and people with dementia benefit from this social connection – watch it here.  Social connection is layered.  Attending peer support groups helps to build new relationships.

Contributing in these groups builds confidence and helps people to be involved.  Sometimes this involvement extends outside of the peer support group.  Fuller participation and sense of involvement comes from sharing responsibilities and helping to sustain the group.

 Next Stages

In the coming months, we will be investigating these and other benefits through conversations and discussions with people living with dementia and unpaid carers who access the peer support projects.  We are also meeting with staff and volunteers at the projects and staff from partner organisations who have worked with the projects.

This research will enable us to find out how people experience the support and understand what works well, or less well, for them. We want to learn lessons about ‘what works’ and share this information so that peer support can be as successful as possible for people with dementia and unpaid carers in the future.

Participatory Methods

The method adopted by the evaluation has been to recruit several ‘Community Researchers’ who would carry out the fieldwork in conjunction with academic staff at The University of Stirling.  These volunteers were recruited from within the dementia community, being carers or individuals who had some connection to dementia.

Recruitment has not been an easy task, especially retention of volunteers who are actively involved in caring for a person living with dementia.  More will be said about this later.  A range of skills was sought and achieved.  Several of the volunteers were trained researchers who had been involved in previous projects about dementia at The University of Stirling and have skills necessary to carry out the fieldwork.  Others were already volunteering in a dementia-related project and were committed to helping where they could in researching the condition and how life could be improved for those living with dementia.

Each brought with them life skills from previous employment and volunteering such as communication skills, project skills and creative skills.

An initial introductory meeting was arranged and then a follow up meeting, where volunteers gained some knowledge of the project objectives and methods.  Initially there was a high level of commitment but, due to caring commitments and the pandemic which hit in March 2020, there was a level of drop off, particularly among volunteers actively involved in caring.

Fieldwork and the Pandemic

Four projects supported by the Life Changes Trust have been identified for fieldwork.  There was much discussion among the researchers about which creative methods were best to evaluate the effectiveness of peer support in each of the projects and many face-to-face, group and socially inclusive methods were identified.

All of these face-to-face methods were excluded due to self-distancing rules introduced in March 2020.  The project has carried on, however, with researchers meeting online and continuing to identify methods now based on online techniques that can be conducted safely at a distance. (See ‘Lessons Learned’)

A personal observation here was how the project reacted to the pandemic.  What was essentially a project about connection with dementia projects and creative methods for evaluating them became, due to the pandemic, an exercise in remote working both among the volunteers and with the projects.  Essentially the evaluation project did not change but has become different in its methods of engaging people in research.  In addition, we learned a lot about setting up projects like this and making them more robust against unforeseen risk.

Lessons Learned (so far):

(1) It is important to be mindful of existing commitments that community researchers may have at the recruitment stage. This is particularly true where potential researchers are interested in a subject like dementia as a result of personal experience of living with or caring for someone with dementia.  Where a potential researcher does have caring responsibilities or a long term health condition, they must be actively supported to engage with the research in a way that works for them.  Ultimately, though, they may feel they have to step away from the project.

(2) There are lots of creative, non-contact methods available for engaging people at a distance which are available and published on sites such as org. We were particularly impressed with a video by artist Lydia Beilby called “Create Your Own Living Archive”  The techniques described in the video can be adapted to evaluate peer support within projects using such creative methods.

(3) A risk register can never be too detailed or “out of the box”. We missed the possibility of a pandemic but, at the time the project started, if we had considered it we would have rated the probability very low and impact extremely high and, I am sure, we would have decided to live with the risk.  As it happened, a flexible approach to project methodology has allowed us to react to the pandemic and create new methods to carry on with the project.

(4) One of the major lessons learned is “learn the lessons”. Many of the new methods developed out of necessity will be useful in future research and will be written up, developed and used in future studies regardless of the situation.  We also hope that the methods we use for engaging research participants online will be useful longer-term for the peer support projects who may find the creative resources adopted in the evaluation useful for supporting and delivering peer support at a distance.

Final Thoughts

Carrying out an evaluation during the pandemic will allow us to gather unique insights about the role of peer support and factors influencing its delivery during a period of acute crisis, what this may mean for peer support, and its effect regarding loneliness and social isolation.

Author Information

Dr Paul Lyden is a retired IT consultant and Project Manager.  He became involved with dementia when his oldest friend was diagnosed with the condition.  Paul volunteered with Alzheimer Scotland at an allotment in Dumbarton as he is a keen gardener.  He still works at the allotment (pandemic permitting).  Paul has a background in research and is keen to get involved in research which might help.  He is volunteering as a Community Researcher.

Contact Information

Dr Jane Robertson, Lecturer in Dementia Studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences at The University of Stirling, is leading this project. For further information about the evaluation, please contact Jane at


Systems Change, Relationships and Love

When I was asked if I fancied writing a blog for Care Experienced Week, it wasn’t a tough decision. I enjoy putting pen to paper, because I like to reflect and writing helps me to do that. At Life Changes Trust we put a lot of effort into being a learning organisation, but at the same time we are often juggling lots of competing work demands and so reflection time can be squeezed.

Whether I’m putting a blog together, crafting a Tweet or creating a short journal entry, writing helps me to carve out time and space to take a step back and try to make sense of the world in some small way. I suppose it’s a form of storytelling, and unsurprisingly I’m a big reader too. One of my friends gave me a framed Louisa May Alcott quote that gives a bit of insight into what folk think about me:

“She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain”

I’m ok with this image of me as someone who lives in her own head a bit, as it has some truth, but isn’t the whole truth. The human brain is wired to think in stories – stories helped our distant ancestors share knowledge about how to survive in a hostile environment and became an essential element in the survival and development of our species.

In our work, we have found that giving people the tools to express themselves and tell their own story offers a route to a deeper understanding of what matters to young people with care experience, people living with dementia and unpaid carers. For anyone interested in designing services and supports that focus on what people need and want to live their lives well, this is vital territory.

A couple of years ago the Trust delivered a leadership programme for people who have important connections with the workforce and carers of young people with care experience. The programme was focused on systems change, in recognition that many of the challenges young people with care experience face are caused by system factors such as organisational and service behaviours, public attitudes, market forces and policy decisions and policy implementation.

The leadership programme was set a challenge by the Trust’s Advisory Group, a challenge which spoke to all of the above system dimensions, namely, “how do we put love and relationships at the heart of the care system?”


This challenge grounded the programme and set us off on a quest to start writing a fresh story about the care system with young people who have lived it.


The Advisory Group is made up of young people with their own unique experience of growing up in the care system, and for three years now we have been building relationships with them, both as individuals and as a group. I now realise that a lot of this has been about being alongside the group as they have developed their story. At the same time, it has been important that we share aspects of our own stories, both as people and as representatives of the Life Changes Trust.

We knew straight away that the group was going to be much more than the sum of its collective care experience, albeit that the perspective of the members, which is grounded in the often harsh realities of life growing up in the care of the state, has been invaluable to us as we have tried to design funding initiatives and create collaborations which truly have the potential to create lasting positive change.

We have learned that as individuals they have multi-faceted identities – including those of loyal friends, hard-working students, loving parents, passionate campaigners, talented creatives, thoughtful citizens and proud brothers and sisters. Their honesty and openness in sharing their experiences and perspectives has constantly inspired us as staff members to open up and connect as human beings as well as people with a job to do.

We took this ethos into the leadership programme and challenged participants to ask some searching questions of themselves – were they really ready to promote a relationship-based approach amongst the staff and carers they lead and represent? If staff and carers who get alongside young people every day are to show caring, loving behaviours, it is essential for organisations to show care for those same staff members and carers.

The leadership approach needed to create the kind of environment where people feel safe and supported to act with empathy and kindness, calls for different qualities to those we may traditionally associate with leadership.

Top down approaches are not helpful, because strong relationships require us to be present in the moment, to be self-aware and alert to the needs of others. In other words, people need autonomy and leaders need to be open to distributing their power. This type of leadership also calls for people to put their organisational competitiveness to the side. Tackling systems challenges requires us to work across organisational and service boundaries while keeping the focus on what young people need and want.

We held a residential as part of the systems leadership programme, and in the first day we got straight into some of this challenging territory. We found that the spirit of openness and honesty which had been present with the Advisory Group from day one was much more difficult to foster in a group of people with decades of professional experience behind them. There were some scary moments when we worried that the whole enterprise was doomed to failure. And of course some of these moments have now become the stuff of legend – stories that we dust off when we meet new people and want to let them know what we’re all about, or stories that lift us when we have doubts.

Ultimately, despite the rocky start, the programme proved to be influential in a number of ways. Rosie Moore, a former member of the Advisory Group which set the love and relationships challenge, was nominated by a member of the programme to take part in the Journey phase of the Independent Care Review, and has gone on to be a Co-Chair of the Love Group. New collaborations have developed, for example between Staf (Scottish Throughcare and Aftercare Forum) and CYCJ (the Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice) in relation to participation for young people with youth justice experience and trauma-informed approaches. Care Inspectorate standards were influenced – with a focus on inspectors assessing the quality of relationships available to young people in care settings. Internally, at the Life Changes Trust, we designed new application processes which privileged both relationships and the perspective of young people.

Perhaps more importantly than all of that, however, is the impact on individuals and the way they approach not only their work but their lives. By challenging us to open up and be honest about our personal traits, the programme gave us a small taste of what it must be like to be a young person who is constantly expected to share sensitive personal aspects of their lives with strangers. It also made us think about the ways young people try to take control of their own narrative and reflect on events as a means of reaching out to others – by knowing ourselves, we have greater potential to know others and build lasting relationships.

At the Life Changes Trust, we believe much of the legacy for the work we have been doing lies in people. Creating better lives is not a mission for someone else – it sits with all of us, every day, as we have the potential to build relationships. Not relationships with stakeholders, or potential partners, or people with lived experience, or funders or anyone else who we may think can help us advance a short-term agenda – but open relationships with other human beings, without judgement or assumption.

This is the true work of long-term system change, and young people with care experience are showing us the way.

Carole Patrick, Director of Evidence and Influencing, Young People with Care Experience Programme

Dementia: Managing loss and addressing stigma in the journey to residential care: Part 2

I’ve been talking about managing loss and the transition into residential care for people with dementia, and how we can support their journeys.  I wanted to now talk about dementia friendly communities such as those funded by the Life Changes Trust.

Dementia Friendly Communities are first and foremost about inclusion.  For example, the Trust funded an allotment and community garden project in West Dunbartonshire, which offers a safe place for those affected by dementia to socialise and work alongside other people in the community.

By providing opportunities for people to contribute and volunteer within the allotments, the projects are continually providing ways to break down preconceptions and beliefs that many people hold about people affected by dementia. This allotment is also attended by members of the local care home, who thrive in the environment of the outdoors, where they can participate in gardening and growing fruit and vegetables.

Sporting Memories groups are another example of a Life Changes Trust supported project that helps to break down societal stigma and discrimination. The programme is run across Scotland and helps to promote both the physical and mental well-being of people affected by dementia. By meeting both in public and sporting venues, as well as holding meetings in care homes themselves, this helps to break down any negative attitudes towards people with dementia by showcasing that individuals are still perfectly capable of socialising and having fun with others.


Expanding into care homes also helps to ensure that residential care doesn’t limit or exclude anyone from continuing to participate in social activities and groups that they enjoy, while also providing other residents with the opportunity to attend as well, who may not be as able to commit to any external activities. This avoids both discrimination and exclusion of anyone who wants to attend, by ‘bringing the group to them’ and not depending on staff or family availability to accompany the person if needed.

Priority one of the Life Changes Trust is to enable people affected by dementia to live in a place that suits them and their needs. In a residential setting, talking to the individual about what they need and want for a good quality of life, what is still possible for them to achieve and encouraging them to redefine their goals will help them to discover new ways in which to enjoy themselves and highlight activities for them to look forward to.

The second priority of the Life Changes Trust is to protect and promote the independence of people affected by dementia. Maintaining and promoting the confidence of people is crucial to encouraging them to remain as independent in residential care as they can, minimising the risks of loneliness and boredom. A continuing sense of self throughout the transition into residential care can help to promote and maintain an individual’s confidence and dignity.

The third priority of the Trust is to support work that will guarantee that people affected by dementia get the help they need, when they need it. Providing choices and opportunities for people to voice their preferences and opinions, allows an individual to maintain a level of individuality, promoting their dignity and independence. Staff who adhere to these principles work with people affected by dementia in a person-centred manner.

Priority 4 of the Life Changes Trust is to create a culture in Scotland where people affected by dementia feel safe, listened to, valued and respected. Maintaining pride, resilience and a fighting spirit are crucial for an individual affected by dementia to feel involved and valued both as a person and as a resident.

The fifth priority of the Trust is to empower people affected by dementia to do the things that are important to them.  Taking the time to learn about a person’s life and what roles are important to them, can allow a care home to facilitate the continuation of some of these roles and maintain their pride, dignity and purpose.

The transition into residential care is a massive adjustment for everyone, including the care home staff. In order to deliver personalised and person-centred care, staff need to take the time to get to know the person, discovering their likes and dislikes, what motivates them and what they enjoy. Well planned therapeutic activities that reflect the person’s interests can be a good way to build up relationships. Taking the time to plan something for a new resident can make them feel listened to and valued, while simultaneously involving them in activities, and help them to settle in and readjust.

Keeping people active and engaged with a range of different activities is vital to preserve a person’s cognitive and social abilities. Interactive activities with visitors to the care home is a great way to get people involved, make new friends and maintain old relationships with friends and family outside of the care home. Creative arts, music, cooking and baking workshops are all examples of ways in which care homes can provide fun and interactive ways for residents to preserve their skills while enjoying themselves at the same time.

Resident-led timetables and classes will ensure that people are offered a choice and an opportunity to voice their preferences, for example allowing them to choose the times and days of the classes, along with what they would like to do within the sessions. This provides the best possible chance that people will enjoy and attend the sessions as it is catered for their preferences, whilst maintaining their sense of dignity, independence and remaining person centred.


Being made to feel like your opinion matters makes a person feel valued, respected and involved, all resilience building qualities that can help to improve a person’s experience of residential care and improve their quality of life.

But there is still work to be done.

A report by the Alzheimer’s Society in 2007 found that the biggest areas in need of work are the provision of activities and occupation, treating residents with dementia with dignity and respect, and the relationships between care home and relatives/friends.

And almost a quarter of those asked were unhappy with the level of their involvement in decision making about the care of their relative and over a quarter of carers felt that they did not receive enough information and updates about the care and treatment of the person they cared for.

These findings clearly show the gap between good quality practice and meeting the needs and desires of those affected by dementia, giving a focus for continuing work around improving the experiences of the transition into care for individuals and their families.

Recently, the Life Changes Trust invested £135,000 to ensure that the rights of people living with dementia in care homes are recognised and respected. Care homes across Scotland will benefit from the funding, and will use it to support the inclusion and participation of residents with dementia in a meaningful way, so that residents have a genuine say in their own day to day lives.  This will hopefully provide a precedent for future practice within care homes, transforming how people with dementia experience the transition into a residential setting.


Within this blog, I have tried to highlighted some of the current issues and areas for improvement facing people affected by dementia and their transition into residential care. All of the projects funded by the Life Changes Trust are undertaking transformational work with people affected by dementia all across Scotland. Dementia is not the end of someone’s life, it is merely the beginning of a different, and hopefully a more supported one.

Post Diagnostic Support


By Anna Buchanan, CEO, Life Changes Trust

In 2013 the Scottish Government made this commitment:

“…by 2015/16, all people newly diagnosed with dementia will have a minimum of one year’s worth of post-diagnostic support coordinated by a Link Worker, including the building of a person-centred support plan”.

Recently published Scottish NHS Board Performance data reports that in 2016/17, three in five people newly diagnosed with dementia did not receive the minimum one year of support promised by the Scottish Government. The same was true in 2015/16.

An article in the Evening Express (7/2/2019) picked up on the fact that just 18.6% of newly diagnosed patients were referred for support across the NHS Grampian area in 2016-17. When asked about these statistics, a spokesperson for NHS Grampian explained that not everyone chooses to take the package of support. This supposes it was offered to everyone and that 81.4% of those people turned the offer down. If this is indeed the case, there are some questions that need to be asked and answered.

  1. Why do people feel they do not want the support?
  2. Is it perhaps being offered at the wrong time when people may still be coming to terms with their very recent diagnosis?
  3. Would it be better if support was offered on further occasions as well as immediately after diagnosis?
  4. Where else are people finding support in the community post-diagnosis?
  5. Should there be multiple points of access to post-diagnostic support?

However, the NHS statistics do not tell the whole story. If Grampian, for example, were to look at the ways in which people with dementia and carers access support in other ways, that is, not commissioned post-diagnostic support, we may see a more expansive picture. It would be a more complex picture, but it may be a more hopeful one that also gives a better idea of the reasons why people may not want to engage with what appears to be a formal service strongly correlated with a medical diagnosis.

The Life Changes Trust has invested around £800,000 in Grampian over the past four years and through this investment has, to date, reached upwards of 1,200 people with dementia and 800 unpaid carers through various types of support. Some attend health walks, art classes, and fitness sessions, others may join carers groups, or find peer support amongst other people with dementia in their local area. There are many other organisations, not funded by the Trust, delivering similar work throughout Grampian.

This may not seem like ‘post diagnostic support’ in the traditional sense at first, but when we consider what many of these community-based projects are providing by way of advice and information it certainly is support that is provided post-diagnosis. It is a less formal way of accessing post-diagnostic support, with the access point being through an interest or a familiar place.

For example, for someone with dementia who has a lifelong loyalty to Aberdeen FC, what better way to receive information, advice and support than by attending dementia friendly walking football or a health walk at Pittodrie? The work done by Aberdeen FC Community Trust provides a community of support and opportunities for respite, but they also refer people on to other organisations for more specific support.

If a person has dementia and English is not their first language, they may need extra support to find information and advice in their own language (which should be provided free of charge by statutory agencies). The Aberdeen Council for Voluntary Organisations is currently working to make sure that people living with dementia, and who are from European Ethnic Minority backgrounds, can receive the support they are entitled to. There are many Black and Minority Ethnic communities that need this extra support but who find it easier to accept when explained and delivered in their own peer group and in their own language.



A significant pilot project has run in Aberdeen since early 2016 – the Dementia Enablement Project run through Castlehill Housing Association’s Care and Repair service. Fully trained dementia enablement staff meet with people with dementia and carers in their own homes to talk about small changes that might be made in the home to help them stay there for as long as possible.

This is because dementia is not just about loss of memory, it can also lead to significant sensory challenges, where the brain may misinterpret information and cause disorientation. For example, a highly patterned carpet may make someone feel dizzy; or a mirror that reflects passers-by may cause a person to think that a stranger is in the house. Fear and loss of confidence can result in a person staying indoors and not exercising, which can lead to an increased risk of falls. Loss of short term memory can mean that medication is forgotten or taps are left running. When these things happen, carers may lose confidence in their ability to care sufficiently and feel they must look for a care home placement earlier than expected. Care and Repair offers a number of solutions to these issues, for free.

Care and Repair

By making small changes in the home at an early stage (early intervention) many people with dementia in Aberdeen are living more confidently in their homes for longer and carers are relieved of a certain amount of worry. The average cost per person assisted currently stands at £243, but is likely to be lower once the project has been completed. Statutory services do not fund a service like this at present, though the cost savings to the public purse of keeping people out of hospital and care homes is obvious.

The dementia enablement staff have come across many people living with dementia who have had a fairly recent diagnosis but who have never seen a Link Worker. Some were not offered the service or are on a waiting list. Dementia enablement staff have discovered that some people did not take up the offer of support because they did not feel ready for it at that time or did not understand what was being offered.

Care and Repair is able to access homes through a practical offer of support that focuses on the home. Link Workers also carry out most of their valuable work by visiting people in the home – but if a person has previously said they do not want post-diagnostic support then Link Workers have no authority to cross the threshold.  Care and Repair’s staff enter on a different basis and, once trusted, are able to offer information and advice, and make referrals to other agencies. In Aberdeen many people with dementia and unpaid carers have been supported by the dementia enablement staff to claim benefits they are entitled to, amounting to more than £300,000 to date, which is almost equal to the amount invested in the project by the Trust.

The pilot project, which operates in four areas across Scotland, is being evaluated and an interim report will be available in early spring 2019.

This is not a suggestion that Link Workers should be replaced or removed; we do, in fact, need more of them. However, we also need a broader understanding of the variety of ways in which post-diagnostic support might be provided across the community. The recent statistics show that around 10,500 people newly diagnosed with dementia in Scotland in 2016/17 did not receive the one year’s support to which they were entitled and, of these, around 9,300 were not referred for support at all, for whatever reason. We should reflect on this and consider the value of those organisations that are providing good quality, but less formal, post-diagnostic support.

Integration Joint Boards should consider how they invest in these organisations, which provide excellent value for money. They should look at more than one model for the delivery of post-diagnostic support and explore more deeply the ways in which people with dementia would prefer to receive that support in the first 12 months and beyond. The value of peer support is under-explored. In time, IJBs may wish to consider accreditation for organisations that can provide high quality, highly localised post-diagnostic support in creative ways that help people engage more meaningfully with the offer.

Anna Buchanan, CEO, Life Changes Trust

Anna Buchanan _colour Jan 2018_Fotor