NEWS: Life Changes Trust pledges renewed funding to dementia friendly communities in Edinburgh theatres

The Life Changes Trust has renewed its funding to support dementia friendly communities at the Festival and King’s Theatres in Edinburgh.

Capital Theatres, which runs the prestigious Edinburgh theatres, was initially awarded £320,000 in 2015 to help create dementia friendly venues so that people with dementia and those who care for them can continue to enjoy participating in the arts.

The three-year funding provided for extensive audits of the buildings to help make them more accessible and more welcoming for people with dementia, to programme shows and events specifically for those affected by dementia including presenting the UK’s first dementia friendly opera, and to adapt existing theatre programmes to be more dementia friendly.

The success of the initiatives introduced and pioneered by Capital Theatres has transformed activities at the theatres for older audiences and have helped create best-practice templates to encourage other theatres to adopt dementia-friendly programmes.

This success has been acknowledged by the Life Changes Trust awarding an additional £61,740 over the next two financial years.

Paul Hudson, Coordinator of Dementia Friendly Projects at Capital Theatres says: “The initial funding from Life Changes Trust really was life-changing for theatre-goers living with dementia in and around Edinburgh. With its support, we have been able to create some amazing projects that have transformed lives and made our theatres more accessible, more inclusive and more exciting places to be. Our thanks to the Life Changes Trust for this continuation of their funding and we look forward to taking the next steps in supporting dementia friendly communities at the heart of our theatres.”

Anna Buchanan, Director of the Life Changes Trust dementia programme says, “The solution to getting it right for people with dementia lies with communities like those created by the Festival and Kings theatre’s – and the relationships they build.  They have achieved extraordinary things with and for their community and the Trust is delighted to continue supporting them.  We need many more communities like this across Scotland that take an approach which focuses more on what people with dementia can do rather than what they can’t. Capital Theatres have taken this basic principle and put it into action, with fantastic results.”

Fraser MacDonald | Image: Phil Wilkinson

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