The number of people affected by dementia is growing rapidly and is projected to more than double within the next 30 years. This challenge has arisen against a backdrop of global economic and political uncertainty. In Scotland, the policy response has led to pioneering an internationally recognised rights-based approach to dementia, spurred by extensive campaigning and awareness-raising by the Scottish Dementia Working Group and DEEP Network (Dementia Empowerment and Engagement Project). Yet current research has underlined significant lag between policy and practice. People living with dementia (individuals with a diagnosis and those who care for them) still have limited say over services and their interests are overlooked at a broader community level. People with dementia report facing social, political, cultural and physical barriers to their community participation.

This programme aimed to serve as a catalyst for change by seeking to address the challenge of translating rights-based policy into everyday practice. The over-arching aim was to enable people living with dementia to influence change within their communities, with support from an interdisciplinary network of academics, researchers, practitioners and activists. Over the course of a series of innovative knowledge exchange events, objectives included:

  • bringing together national and international expertise to construct a framework for culture change, co-produced with people living with dementia;
  • piloting a series of dementia-accessible mechanisms for knowledge exchange and public engagement led by people living with dementia, and reporting on the outcomes;
  • forging a network of knowledge partnerships to foster evidence-informed community-development as a lasting impact of the programme;
  • producing a record of each piloted method for public engagement with supporting guidance on its strengths and limitations, thus promoting dementia-accessible engagement at a wider level.
'The programme was a real catalyst for change, it’s been an ongoing resource and we owe SUII and all those involved a massive thank you. You have made a real difference that will translate into better lives for people in East Lothian and helped us be part of a wider community benefitting people across the UK and beyond.'
Sue Northrop, Founder of Dementia Friendly East Lothian (DFEL)


To mark 10 years of SUII, we designed a series of posters showcasing some programmes supported by SUII between 2012 and 2022. Click on the image above for a full view of the poster created for this particular programme.

Visit our Insights page to find out more about the 10 Years of SUII.


Programme Team

Dr Grant Gibson, University of Stirling
Prof. Diane Rasmussen Pennington, Edinburgh Napier University (previously University of Strathclyde)
Dr Richard Ward, University of Stirling
Sue Northrop, Dementia Friendly East Lothian CIC
Kevin Harrison, Artlink
Paul Thomas, Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project (DEEP)

Read the team's presentation of their project on the SUII blog