Taking bold steps to advance leadership in dementia

Dementia is an area which has touched the lives of so many people in our communities. Staff within QMU’s Division of Nursing are passionate about changing the way society considers dementia.

Together, with other academics, creative agencies and community groups they are helping people who live with dementia to flourish and not be characterised through the lens of their dementia. They believe that every person has the right to live their best life, despite their dementia diagnosis.

The Bold programme is an example of such beliefs being actioned and its five-year programme takes a fresh approach to dementia. Providing free leadership opportunities across Scotland, this innovative initiative blends knowledge about dementia with creativity with a common sense approach.

Importantly, it brings together all people who are living with dementia (ie anyone who has the condition, lives with someone with dementia, provides care to people or connects with people living with dementia in our communities), artists and individuals from all walks of life – it’s a melting pot of individuals with varied experience and different backgrounds who can contribute to creating the conditions for people with dementia to flourish. Creativity and thinking differently about little changes that can help to improve the lives of those with dementia are at the heart of the programme.

Looking at the bigger picture - it’s about developing social leaders to support positive changes in the way we enable people living with dementia to live life to the full for all of their lives. Delivered in partnership by QMU and the University of Edinburgh, Bold is funded by the Life Changes Trust. The pandemic may have kept participants from meeting face to face, but it certainly hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for taking the programme to the next level.

The Social Leadership Programme is now online and the team is delighted with the level of interest from people wishing to participate.

Professor Brendan McCormack, Bold Project Co-Lead and Head of the Divisions of Nursing, Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies at QMU, explained:

"There are lots of misconceptions about people living with dementia and we’d like to change that. There is also some great work being done across communities and we need to build on and share that. Our goal is to create flourishing communities where having dementia doesn’t matter to how we live our lives. We are determined to encourage our participants to lead on creating changes, no matter how small, and removing labels that get in the way of people living their best lives."

He concluded: “We initially launched the programme with cohorts in Inverness and in East Lothian but our Online Social Leadership Programme can now accommodate anyone from across Scotland. We are proud to be bringing diverse types of leaders together – on an equal footing – and providing free leadership development opportunities so that participants can learn from each other, and can develop skills and knowledge that will make a difference.”

Find out more about the project and the online leadership course 

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