Dementia-friendly futures: $240,000 in grants for inclusive Australian communities

By Our Reporter
Participants in Lithgow's Creative Dementia Workshops, funded by a grant from Dementia Australia's Community Engagement Program // Pic supplied

Dementia Australia has announced an inspiring initiative offering $240,000 in community grants. This funding is dedicated to fostering dementia-friendly projects across the nation, marking a significant step towards inclusivity and support for those affected by dementia.

The 2024 Community Engagement Program invites applications from local community associations, businesses, organisations, and groups. These grants, which can be as much as $15,000, aim to develop projects that make communities more dementia-friendly. The emphasis is on projects that reflect the community’s needs, establish local partnerships, and utilise in-kind contributions alongside existing resources.

Since its inception, the Community Engagement Program has conducted four grant rounds, distributing close to $800,000 to over 70 groups. This substantial investment reflects Dementia Australia’s commitment to creating supportive environments for individuals living with dementia and their carers.

A notable example of the program’s impact is evident in Lithgow, New South Wales. Here, Creative Dementia Workshops, funded by one of these grants, provide art, music, and mindfulness therapies. These workshops, coordinated by Kas Hilton, co-founder of the Lithgow Dementia Support community group, offer a secure and inclusive space. They have been instrumental in stimulating memories, building confidence, and maintaining connections within the community for those living with dementia and their carers.

Central to the success of these initiatives is the active involvement of people living with dementia in the design and delivery of projects. This approach ensures that the activities are relevant and enjoyable for participants. Sebastian Caruso, a co-founder of Lithgow Dementia Support and a carer for his partner Jeff, who lives with dementia, highlighted the importance of consulting with those directly affected to shape the workshops effectively.

The selection criteria for the grants prioritise projects that meaningfully consult with and include people impacted by dementia. Collaborative local partnerships and the ability to meet the needs of diverse communities are also key considerations.

The closing date for applications for the 2024 Community Engagement Program grants is Friday, 31 December. This initiative not only provides financial support but also a platform for communities to come together in understanding and supporting individuals living with dementia.

For more information or to apply for a grant, interested parties can visit the Dementia Australia website. The opportunity to contribute to building more inclusive, dementia-friendly communities is now open, and this program is a beacon of hope and progress in the ongoing journey towards a more understanding and supportive society for those living with dementia.

To find out more about the program or to apply, click here.

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