The Living Well Dementia Café has secured two grants thanks to a pair of Portlethen siblings, and their friends, three years apart.
Rosie Laundon was inspired to represent the charity with her teammate Tyler Martin after her brother Jack secured funds in 2018 through The Wood Foundation’s Youth and Philanthropy Initiative (YPI). Their father Tim also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in 2018, raising funds for the charity.
Rosie and Jack’s late grandfather had suffered from dementia, and they believe the café offers vital support to others with the condition, providing a lifeline, respite, and fun for families under pressure.
Portlethen Academy S3 student Rosie said:
“When it was my time to do YPI, I remembered how much Jack had enjoyed his experience and how important he believed the Living Well Café’s work was. It is run by two amazing women and the service has been hit hard by Covid restrictions and funding so we wanted to do something.
“My granda didn’t go to the café but it’s the kind of thing my family believe would have been a big help to him and he would have enjoyed it.
“I really want to stay connected to the charity and am looking forward to visiting or volunteering once we’re allowed.”
Rosie and Tyler interviewed the charity’s managers Jeanette Abel and Linda Rendall, as well as creating a PowerPoint presentation sharing facts about dementia and the service it offers. They also filmed a TikTok video to the music of We Go Together to show the work of the centre.
“I was really excited to do YPI. To win the grant was amazing as we got to know the charity really well. It never sunk in for ages.
“It’s not often you get to give a presentation like this so it was a really good opportunity.
“I would like to volunteer. It makes you feel good to do something nice – much better than just spending time on the computer.”
The funds will support the ongoing support the charity provides to people living with dementia in the North-east. The 2018 grant funded live entertainment for the café’s users, as well as goodie bags for the users, carers, and volunteers. Music is an impactful way to engage with those with dementia.
Jeanette from the charity said:
“We were impressed with the team’s ideas and, despite the restrictions imposed by COVID, were able to overcome the obstacles faced. They persuaded us to participate in a TikTok – this was way out of our comfort zone but we were happy to be guided by them! We encouraged one of our dementia café users to join us with the TikTok – this gentleman was enthusiastic but highly emotional. They treated him with the utmost respect and conducted themselves in a mature manner.”
Her colleague Linda added:
“The Laundon family has personal experience with dementia, having lost a close family member to the disease. With statistics suggesting that one in three of the population will receive a dementia diagnosis in their lifetime, it is important for young people to have an awareness of how the disease can affect people.
“We are absolutely delighted, and surprised, to have secured two grants. We thoroughly enjoyed being there in person to celebrate the 2018 team’s success. Unfortunately, that was not possible this year but Rosie and Tyler were great about maintaining a close connection with us through the process.”
Portlethen Academy students have secured more than £30,000 for North-east charities through YPI. The school continues to evolve its delivery model, embedding a whole-school approach to the experience.
In 2020/21, S5 student Jasmine Spalding mentored the then S2 students on their YPI presentations as part of her Enterprise and Employability Award. She said:
“It was a really good experience. It helped me with my communication skills and I enjoyed connecting with the younger pupils. These opportunities make a difference and it’s good that they’re recognised as part of your time at school.”
Portlethen Academy is also developing a volunteering engagement initiative for S5 students to revisit the themes of philanthropy discovered in S2 through YPI.
YPI is an active citizenship programme which empowers young people to make a difference in their communities. More than 230,000 young people have engaged with the programme, responsible for more than £5m being granted to charities across Scotland. Through teamwork, research, and competition, young people develop creative and convincing presentations in a bid to secure their school’s £3000 YPI grant. In 2020/21, YPI was supported by bp as a funding partner in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.
View the presentation and videos here.