People living with dementia to have their voices heard thanks to funding

Today Comic Relief, in partnership with the Big Lottery Fund, has awarded £149,696 to a UK-wide project that brings together people’s diverse experiences of living with dementia as a series of audio diaries.

The joint funding – thanks to National Lottery players and Comic Relief supporters - will enable people living with dementia to have their voices heard and will support the drive to change attitudes and perceptions about dementia.

Dementia Diaries is run by Innovations in Dementia. Launched in 2015 by On Our Radar, it documents the day-to-day lives and views of people living with dementia across the UK.

Diarists are able to record their audio diary entries on their own mobile phones or landlines, or on easy to use mobile handsets, capturing thoughts and experiences as they occur, which are then sent via the internet to the Dementia Diaries website.

Previously, the platform has been used to raise awareness about the realities of life with dementia, but thanks to the grant, Innovations in Dementia will be able to expand its work, for example by providing more insight into the development of services that will meet the needs of people living with dementia.

This project enables those who may otherwise not have the opportunity to have their voices heard and to share their experience globally of living with the condition. The diaries can be heard here.

Ruth Ruderham, Grants Director at Comic Relief, said: “Supporting those with dementia to raise awareness and a greater understanding of the illness through their own words is something we are passionate about at Comic Relief. Through this initiative the nation will gain a unique insight into their lives, from the challenges to the surprising uplifting moments, to help drive support in local communities.”

Philly Hare, Director of Innovations in Dementia, said:  “We are thrilled at the new funding arrangement and confident that the future of Dementia Diaries is very bright. It is a unique way for people with dementia to express their views and tell their stories, at any time of the day or night and without even having to leave their own house. Some of the diaries address high-level policy issues, while others may seem mundane – but they are all of equal importance.”

Wendy Mitchell, a diarist for Dementia Diaries, said: "I used to be a very private person but I was so appalled at the lack of awareness and lack of understanding about dementia that I now shout from the rooftops at every opportunity simply to get people talking about dementia. Through Dementia Diaries, we’re allowed to voice our opinions, our feelings, our thoughts, to enable those without dementia to take a glimpse into the reality of our world."

To find out more on the Dementia Diaries project, visit their website here.