Middle aged woman and elderly woman sitting together

Dementia befriending service coming to Ayrshire


Ayrshire Independent Living Network (AILN) has secured funding to provide an Ayrshire-wide dementia befriending service for the next three years.

Made possible by the National Lottery Community Fund, this service aims to provide a few hours of face-to-face support, either weekly or fortnightly, to individuals living with early-stage dementia. It will also provide respite for unpaid carers.

AILN Dementia Befriending Co-ordinator, Sharon MacPherson, came into post in July 2022, and brings a wealth of knowledge in volunteering. She told us more about the service:

“We are all excited to be involved in this new project, providing support for people living with dementia.

It is our hope the project will be able to engage people with dementia at the earliest possible stage and provide specialist support. This will reduce isolation and loneliness and improve the quality of life for this group, as well as the group of people providing unpaid care for people with dementia.”

AILN is currently at the initial stages of the project and is actively seeking applications from individuals all over Ayrshire to join their team as Dementia Befrienders.

This will involve providing 1-1 befriending companionship to people living with early-stage dementia, which could mean accompanying the person on a walk, shopping trip or activity in the community, or providing companionship in the person’s home, e.g. playing scrabble or having a chat over the phone.

AILN will be able to accept self-referrals as well as referrals from family members, via Alzheimer’s Scotland, carers centres, NHS post diagnostic teams, Community Mental Health Nurses or any other agency supporting people living with dementia.

All referrals will be assessed by the project to gauge if our service is suitable.

The person will then be matched with a volunteer, and we would consider likes, dislikes, what activity the person would like to do or where they would like to go.

To find out more about AILN and the Dementia Befriending Service, contact them via email or call 01294 475682.