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Community, Older People, Volunteering

New Partnership launched with the Scottish Book Trust

20 July 2021

One of our key aims with the Foundation was to ensure we are delivering our support inclusively and equitably, and we have been keen to find a project to work with in Scotland since the Foundation launched late last year. We are really pleased to share the press release below from our partners at the Scottish Book Trust, who we will be working with over the months and years ahead to support their ‘Reading is Caring’ project.

“Scottish Book Trust, the national charity changing lives through reading and writing, has today been announced as a new charity partner of the McCarthy Stone Foundation. Together, they will work on Scottish Book Trust’s programme Reading is Caring, which aims to help people living with dementia and their carers.

There are an estimated 90,000 people with dementia in Scotland. Around two-thirds are living at home at any one time, with the remainder in acute or residential care. Reading is Caring teaches carers how to share stories and create their own life story book box. This includes learning how to select and tailor reading to enjoy together with the person they care for, as well as gathering pictures, objects and other sensory triggers to complement the reading.

A new report for Carers Week 2021 found that carers in Scotland were reporting high levels of fatigue and stress, with 77% feeling exhausted and worn out. Reading is Caring not only benefits those with dementia, but also their carers. Shared reading is enjoyable and can provide comfort to those participating. Furthermore, the life story book boxes can help relieve stress, evoke positive memories, and maintain the relationship between carer and those with dementia. If they have been trained, multiple family members and any professional carers can use Reading is Caring, which supports the person living with dementia with a consistent, connective experience in many of their relationships.

The McCarthy Stone Foundation believes that a sense of community and purpose are essential for quality of life, particularly for older people. The partnership with Reading is Caring is a perfect fit, as the programme helps to establish relationships with people living with dementia, their carers, and families. The Foundation has awarded Scottish Book Trust a £2,000 grant and through fundraising, McCarthy Stone’s employees and homeowners will support the Reading is Caring programme across Scotland.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:

‘We are delighted that the McCarthy Stone Foundation has chosen Scottish Book Trust as their new charity partner. Reading is Caring aims to support people living with dementia and the people who provide care for them. We are grateful for the experience that McCarthy Stone employers and homeowners will bring to this programme, and we look forward to spreading the joy of shared reading.’

Graeme Marsh, Foundation Manager at the McCarthy Stone Foundation said:

‘The Reading is Caring programme developed by Scottish Book Trust is an innovative way to engage the carers, families, and partners of people living with dementia. We have been encouraged by the early research supporting its efficacy, but even more by the passion and commitment of the team behind it. We look forward to seeing the programme grow, and we are excited to engage with McCarthy Stone employees and homeowners across Scotland to further its development.’

Colin Tate, carer and Reading is Caring participant, said:

‘Reading is Caring opened up a whole new line of ideas and techniques for me to help support my mother, who is living with dementia in a care home setting. The programme will help her have better, positive, emotional memories.’ ”

Along with Foundation Ambassador Lesley Kelly, we will be introducing the Scottish Book Trust programme to our homeowners and teams across Scotland and supporting their work through fundraising on developments and with team events.

It’s a great partnership for us that we are delighted to be part of, we look forward to more updates in the future.