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University to Launch LGBT Dementia Support Project

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The University of Worcester’s influential Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) is launching a ground-breaking scheme to support people in marginalised groups living with dementia.

Working in partnership with the Birmingham LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) Centre for Health and Wellbeing and PACE Health in London, the ADS will run the ‘Over the Rainbow’ project, designed to support LGBT people with dementia, and their carers.

Professor Elizabeth Peel, Professor of Psychology and Social Change at the University of Worcester, is leading the project, and she says that it will provide a vital support and advocacy to what is an under-represented group.

“We know that LGBT people with dementia are especially marginalised communities, and that the issues impacting these people are under-represented in general dementia groups and charities,” Professor Peel explains.

“What haven’t been heard, to date, are the voices of LGBT people with dementia, and that is what this project is looking to change.

“Over the Rainbow will provide an opportunity for LGBT people with dementia, and their carers, to come together in a safe space, and will facilitate intergenerational dialogue, support and advocacy, allowing the voices of LGBT people with dementia to be heard.”

Professor Dawn Brooker, the Director of the Association for Dementia Studies, adds: “Dementia affects everyone in society in one way or another. One in three of us will develop dementia by the end of our life and people live for many years with the challenges that dementia can bring.

“One of the things that helps people cope is being able to maintain their lifestyle as much as possible and having the understanding of friends and family. Over the Rainbow is a step to ensuring that people who identify themselves as LGBT can have voice in making this happen.”

The project is funded by the Dementia Engagement and Empowerment Project (DEEP), which is led by Innovations in Dementia in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, and funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Comic Relief.

Steph Keeble, Director of Birmingham LGBT, says: “This is a very exciting project to be part of. LGBT people living with dementia are seldom heard voices; this is an opportunity to make sure their voices are heard and hopefully develop service provision and culturally competent support networks.”

The project’s first meeting will take place at the Birmingham LGBT Centre on Thursday May 29, between 1pm and 4pm. Refreshments and support to travel to the meeting will be provided, and those interested in attending or obtaining further information should contact Professor Peel on e.peel@worc.ac.uk, or Michelle King on 01905 855362.