Dementia Friendly North Berwick Community Event 2014




Tuesday 22 April 2014

10am-12noon & 7pm-9pm

Hope Rooms, North Berwick

Facebook: North Berwick Dementia Friendly Community




1,729 people in East Lothian have a diagnosis of dementia, and this number is forecast to rise to 3.542 by 2035.   Dementia isn’t a natural part of ageing, it’s a chronic disease of the brain and it’s usually progressive. Everyone’s experience of dementia is different, but dementia can lead to problems with memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, learning, language and judgement. On top of this, people with dementia often feel anxious and frightened, they may feel under pressure because they can’t cope like they used to and they may feel they are being judged for making a mistake or not doing things quickly or well enough.


Dementia is not curable, but there’s lots that can be done to improve the quality of life for people with dementia. Life with dementia is better when people have things to do, places to go and supportive friends and family. Social isolation and inactivity make people dependent, and can exacerbate many of the symptoms of dementia. By focussing on what people with dementia can do, by seeing them as unique valuable people and being kind, thoughtful and respectful, everyone can help people with dementia have a better life.


Some people with dementia come along to the North Berwick Day Centre to meet their friends, have fun and go on outings, but that’s only a few people for a few hours a week. What about the rest of the week? What about people who can’t or don’t want to come to the Day Centre? What about people in the early stages of dementia, how do they manage?


The conversation started when a small group of people from the community and local agencies got together to ask what more we could do for people in North Berwick affected by dementia. We were inspired by the Dementia Friendly Communities set up in Highlands, Motherwell, Yorkshire and Swansea, what could we could do in North Berwick?


We decided to ask the community and arranged 2 community events in April 2014 to give local people an opportunity to find out more about dementia and to say what they think should happen. The North Berwick Community Centre provided meeting rooms, practical support and a £500 grant to help with things like photocopying.


We spent 6 months leading up to the events talking to local people about dementia and our hopes for making North Berwick a Dementia Friendly Town. We got a lot of interest and support and encouragement from local businesses, schools, the libraries and in particular from people caring for people with dementia.


We held 2 events on 22 April. This report explains what happened and what we plan to do next.




Tuesday 22 April dawned dreich, misty and cold, but the Hope Rooms were warm and soon decorated with banners, posters and cheery faces. The North Berwick Youth Café were there early to get the kettle on and the scones made.



Round the walls we had a great range of information stalls offering information and advice on a wide range of dementia-related issues.


Thanks to all our stallholders for making the day such a success:












PARIS STEELE – Legal Advice











We asked everyone who attended the event to take part in our consultation exercise to capture ideas and as you can see it was good catch!



  • Somewhere to go on a Sunday – tea? Drivers please
  • Get museum to run regular memory cafes
  • Activity group meetings
  • Monthly activity book to let co-ordinators know what is on in the area
  • Use 1950’s scrapbooks, 1960’s scrapbooks to stimulate conversation
  • Drama therapy/activities
  • Story telling
  • Fish tea for carer and relatives
  • Gentle physical exercise
  • Itunes project. Filming peoples stories
  • More dementia friendly activities in the town.
  • Tea dance once a month
  • Tai Chi in Lodge grounds
  • Days/nights of memories. Eg dancing, singing, comedy/jokes. All join in
  • Sensory trip to a public garden or garden centre. Sights, sounds, smells, touch or maybe even taste can evoke memories and be therapy too
  • Visits to the beach, harbour, cafes, Merry Hatton. Wear name badges at social occasions. Visits to the lovely flower gardens
  • Music therapy



  • Better training for agency staff to respect and encourage people with Dementia to make their own choices
  • Awareness training for community
  • Carers need proper training
  • Coping with incapacity workshops. Discussing the benefits of Power of Attorney and various other options. Discussing the options available to people with dementia before they reach a point at which they can’t make decisions for themselves. Workshops on Power of Attorney, Guardianship orders, Intervention orders, to educate on options available etc.
  • Education for locals/traders
  • 10 minute training programme for businesses about how to spot dementia
  • Short 10 minute training sessions for shop assistants
  • Increase awareness/provide training workshops/cafes/restaurants etc. on recognising people who may have dementia and ways to support them
  • Dementia training for shop staff



  • Advice centre/cafe for carers family members and friends of dementia sufferers
  • Help family members cope with dementia
  • Carers group meetings chat – share ideas for help
  • Dementia friendly cafe
  • In North Berwick have our own dementia cafe where families and residents of local care homes could come together to help support each other and have fun. A good source of knowledge sharing


  • Bus driver and education
  • Transport for wheelchair users
  • Easier to negotiate pavements
  • Pedestrian High Street x 2


  • Easy joined up communication of events
  • Wear name badges at social occasions
  • People with dementia could wear name badges
  • Ask those living with dementia and their families what they would like in their community
  • Remember they are adults, not children



  • Use of 21 Forth Street and Dirleton Court lounges for social occasions
  • 5 Easy steps to being dementia friendly for venues

Intergenerational Work

  • More intergenerational work.
  • Activities to bring together young and elderly
  • Find a way of involving young people –big benefits for both

Care providers

  • Expand carer’s role and visit times to stay and chat with people
  • Carers experiences of dementia (and other illnesses)
  • Fewer care workers coming in to homes of dementia sufferers – familiar/regular people that they like
  • Patience
  • Continuity of care
  • Taking time
  • Support for carers – making difficult decisions


  • Make the public toilets dementia friendly. Signage, contrasting colour of toilet seats etc
  • Clear signage with pictures and words
  • Concern about vulnerability of people with dementia in shops when handling cash
  • Sticker on dementia friendly shop doors
  • Quiet ‘child free’ areas
  • Shop owners etc to have a central North Berwick phone number to contact if a customer seems ’lost’


  • Dementia befrienders in shops/cafes
  • Encourage volunteers




We know that there are great dementia friendly places already, so we asked people to locate them on large scale maps of North Berwick, Gullane, Dirleton, Aberlady and Athelstaneford.







Dementia Friendly Location What made the difference[2]
North Berwick (Central)  
North Berwick Day Centre


Friendly, understanding staff – trained staff.
High Street


Majority of businesses are helpful and willing to listen. Might need a bit of training.


People are friendly, especially dogs. I love them but can’t have one where I live.
North Berwick Lodge Grounds



Bulb walk – we can go along the path – zig-zag through recreation grounds. Do it in parts with small walking group or suitable for wheelchair. It’s beautiful to see colours, smell flowers, loop round Dunbar Road, Dundas Avenue.
Aviary, Lodge Grounds Peaceful – interesting for gardeners and people interested in birds.
Beach path



Slow saunter along putting green – view of sea.   Easy with wheelchair and mobility problems. Bus stop or Beach Road.
Golfers Rest



Staff know us, have understanding of someone with memory impairment. Coffee available during the day. Very accessible – one door, flat entrance.
North Berwick MonthlTea Dance, Hope Rooms


People can dance, community tea, everyone gets up and shuffles, can just do own thing. Relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.
Royal Bank of Scotland Staff helped family member on daily basis with advice and understanding.
Fergusons Chemist Understanding and helpfulness.
Forth Street Amenity Housing Helpful, friendly people, central to North Berwick. Good location.
Buttercup Cafe Staff always goes out his way to make everyone welcome. 1st class.
The Abbey Church Fidra house residents attend this church each Sunday. Given the front seats. The congregation are all so kind and helpful. A wonderful minister. The ladies from the guild visit us on the 1st Sunday of each month. We also have the most wonderful volunteers who help us at Fidra House. They also come and help us with events outwith. Afternoon teas in the Abbey Church in July and August on Sunday afternoons.
The Beacon

St Andrew Blackadder Church

A wonderful lunch and company and friendship is provided to us at Fidra House. Thank you to all the ladies. Easy access. Meeting place.
Post Office Friendly, welcoming and they take time with you.
Charlies Café Time and patience of staff when we visit. Friendship and laughter while we are there. An Aladdin’s Cave from Fidra House.
Alison Cowan Textile Crafts, pop up shop ‘Why Not’ Makes useful glasses cases with picture of glasses on front. Helpful to find misplaced glasses.
North Berwick Community Centre Signposting people information and groups which meet eg. Stroke Club, Lipreaders etc.
Room 8 Studio, Forth Street Workshop with community storytelling/ capturing memory in digital film and photography. Digital mapping/apps.
North Berwick (East)  
East Putting Green Good for people who used to play golf.
Glen Golf Club



Abbey Care Home telephone them to check no competitions on and that it’s OK to go. There’s a lift, great views, members club. They do it for kindness. Staff very helpful and understanding. Local. Max 6 residents.
North Berwick Swimming Pool



Abbey Care Home call them first. Easy access. Flat Throughout. Disabled toilet at entrance. Residents can watch swimmers/badminton/squash. Enjoy seeing children. Have a scone, cup of tea. (Fidra House 2nd all of the above.) However, need easier access to pool.
North Berwick harbour

Sitting on white benches looking at the harbour

Peaceful reminiscence of swimming pool days etc.
Seabird Centre



Nice views, easy to get into. Promenade deck accessible for wheelchairs. Observation stations downstairs and lift to it. Can be busy but quieter when schools in. Tight for wheelchairs but accessible.
Lifeboat Station



Friendly and welcoming. People take time to explain about boat, launch, how it works.
North Berwick Coastal Museum



Lift. WW2 exhibition with items relevant to area. Keep up with exhibitions. People tend to like them. Library staff very friendly. Residents access computers.
Strings Cafe at Tennis Courts Seasonal but can sit in or out. Lovely views and can watch tennis. Reminisce about sports.
North Berwick High School Looking at project with ICT to help older people with mobiles and computers.
North Berwick (West)  
Dirleton Court Sheltered Housing Feeling safe. Plenty to do.
Myreton Motor Museum Good for interest in past. Motor vehicle, engineering info, smell of petrol and oil. Wheelchair access to entrance at present but not to upper level. No lift.
Craigielaw Golf Club Accessible, lovely panoramic view. Ledges at knee height so views can be enjoyed when sitting. Lunch or coffee available. Can ask for small child’s portion – would recommend.
East Fortune  
Museum of Flight



Very accessible. Lots of walking, but can be restricted to one hangar. Make return visit.
Merry Hatton Garden Centre Lots of easy parking, accessible for wheelchairs, all on one level, enjoyable. Plants smell indoor and outdoor. Sheltered. Freedom of being outside. Path leads you round. Smell of scones, baking. Meals/snacks good on cafe. Tables are good height for wheelchairs. Staff very understanding of memory impairment.


Open Arms Hotel, Dirleton



Scone – 11.30 onwards – tea/coffee. Interior of pub is appealing. Victorian era, smells, colours, comfort, secluded
Dirleton Green Accessible, easy walk, on glass or tarmac. Peaceful.
Dirleton Castle Really nice gardens, grounds, not too hilly. Entrance has chips but grass too. Flowers, scents, colours are enjoyable. Just to see castle is nice.
Dirleton Gallery Cafe Friendly and has outdoor area.
Archie Baird Golf Museum, Gullane Men enjoying a visit here.
East Linton  
Smeaton Garden Centre Walk through gardens to tearoom.





We asked people their reasons for coming along:-

  • “I have a family member with a dementia.”
  • Share information about the services on offer already
  • Share ideas
  • One couple said they had recently moved a family member from west of Scotland to be closer to them and they wanted to know what was available nearby to support them and activities going on. The family member only has early stages of dementia so needs minimum support and day centres etc are too advanced for him as he still likes to get out and about so limited with what services are local.  They found it incredibly useful that there is more on offer than originally suggested to them by health professionals and they feel positive now about his future journey with dementia and that they made the right decision moving him here as it seems the best place to live if you have a dementia!

What people have learned or will do differently or enjoyed most about the event:-

  • Meeting more professionals and like-minded people who are all there for the same reason and not just to sell their own services.
  • Event felt like no other event; small, intimate and a very friendly ethos and atmosphere.
  • Could mill around, didn’t feel like had to stay by stall and so could engage with all different types of people.
  • There was lots of information on hand, in a variety of forms too and people could clearly identify what different organisations specifically do.
  • Everyone was friendly, approachable and smiling.
  • Big name badges were useful.
  • The scones!!
  • Good contacts for referrals to services.
  • Would find it useful if a contact list of all organisations who attended could be compiled and emailed round.
  • Networking was another big suggestion by people, they felt this was easy and appropriate to the theme of the day.
  • The maps were very useful for allowing people to see existing places to take someone with a dementia, useful specifically for volunteer and befriending services.
  • The exercise break was a lovely touch and everyone enjoyed it although felt the song went on a bit too long. Someone wants to use this idea for intergenerational work they are doing in nursing homes.
  • There was a clear community spirit recognised and people couldn’t distinguish between professionals, general public and people with a dementia which was great!
  • The 2 hours was a perfect length of time and no talks to stand and listen to, people could just mill around and come and go as pleased.
  • Liked the posters the children did – other parts of the community involved even though couldn’t be there.


It was a very special day. Around 60 people came to the morning event and 40 in the evening, a great turn out. People got information on a whole range of aspects of living with dementia which they told us they found useful. We had fun, we ate scones and we made friends.

There’s a list of places to go if you are affected by dementia. What is really striking is that it’s people that make the difference. Friendly places are all about friendly staff who treat people with understanding, respect and kindness. Physical access and transport also matter too.

People told us they wanted:

  • Things to do and places to go – physical exercise, dancing, music and reminiscence all featured, with a reminder that transport is critical and places need to be accessible and dementia friendly
  • To be treated with respect and understanding – for example by shop keepers and paid carers.
  • Advice and support for people with dementia including activities and legal matters
  • Support for (unpaid) carers and recognition of their important role
  • More connections across generations between


Things have already started to happen!

  • The Day Centre and the Youth Café are getting together to make jam
  • The Library and the High School are looking at setting up an intergenerational digital project
  • The care homes are going to get their residents together so old friends can catch up and new friends be made
  • We’ve done 2 training courses with a local business and organisation and are working with them about what more they can do
  • [Anything else?]


And there’s more to come…!

A small group of us are going to draw up an action plan and work out what more we can do now within current resources and look at what might need a bit mire work,. We’ll then come back to the community and ask you to help decide out priorities.

If you’d like to be involved or just want to be kept in touch please contact Sue or Sandra, our details are on the back page. Help us make North Berwick an even better place to live for everyone!


Watch this space…..!


The Dementia Friendly NB Team


Put in some of our smiley faces too?

Thank you to the following people and agencies have made this event happen:



Sue Northrop & Derek Braid

Volunteer Committee Members

North Berwick Day Centre

Tel: 01620890906



Sandra King

Community Development Officer

Community Learning and Developments

North Berwick Community Centre

8 Law Road

North Berwick

EH39 4PN

Tel: 01620 893056


Lesley Aitkenhead

East Lothian Community Care Forum


David Jeffrey

Ageing Well Co-ordinator

East Lothian Council


Charlotte Swarbrick, Ruth McCabe & Hazel Johnstone

Alzheimer Scotland


Laura Dunkel

Age Scotland


Andy Hyde



Chris Wilkins, Sporting memories Network

Polly Cooke, Claire Spiden RVS

Brian Johnstone, HomeInstead


Helen, Activities Coordinator,. Fidra Nursing Home

Myra Waugh and Lorraine Johnstone, STRive

Helen, Carers of East Lothian

Anne Grindlay, Contact the Elderly

Ken Gordon, North Berwick Stroke Club

Paris and Steele Solicitors, North Berwick

Emma Dempsey, NHS Lothian

Jackie Phillip








Staff from the following agencies attended the event.



  • Abbey Care Home
  • Astley House Care Home
  • Balerno Dementia Group
  • Belhaven Hospital
  • Castlerock Edinvar Housing Association
  • East Lothian Association of Day Care Centres
  • East Lothian Council – Adult Wellbeing
  • East Lothian Council – Community learning & Developments
  • Edington Hospital
  • North Berwick Community Council
  • North Berwick Tea Dance
  • Places for People
  • Stepping Out
  • University of Edinburgh











We would like to thank everyone involved and all those who attended the event for making it such a success.


[1] Please note that individual names have been removed to protect anonymity.


[2] We have edited a few comments to remove individual names and where we thought

Posted in Uncategorised.