A Moray disability group has been awarded more than £100,000 to fund a project helping some of the region’s hardest-working carers.
The Moray branch of Enable Scotland has been given the sum to drive forward ambitious plans to offer practical and emotional support to “isolated” pensioners.
The initiative will assist ageing carers who look after family members with learning difficulties which can bring on dementia.
There are more than 500 people in Moray with learning disabilities – and about 70 of those are at risk of developing dementia due to the nature of their condition.
The group says that many of those individuals are cared for by family members in their 60s, 70s and 80s – and at present there is no local service to support those volunteers.
The group has been awarded £105,000 by the Big Lottery Fund to create a Cuppa Club, which will tour the area promoting social interaction and the exchange of ideas between the pensioners.
Service manager Joanna Grieve said the group will now launch a recruitment campaign to find the right person to head up the project.
She said: “The project is in its early stages, and our first move will be to find someone who can handle the day-to-day running of it.
“We will run the Cuppa Club as a series of ‘pop-up’ cafes in community centres or local facilities, making sure to visit all the different areas of Moray.
“We have a large rural area here, and an awful lot of people out there are very isolated.
“Caring for someone with learning disabilities is a significant challenge anyway, and when that key person develops dementia as well then the carers really need additional support.”
Individuals attending the Cuppa Club sessions will be encouraged to share their experiences, and Enable staff will offer advice on means of practical support available.
The Cuppa Club project was originally launched by Enable in Glasgow, but due to its success it is being considered for other parts of the country.
The group’s executive director of campaigns and external affairs, Jan Savage, said: “Through projects like the Cuppa Club we can continue to talk to carers about the big issues – like learning disabilities and dementia – and gain an understanding of the support they need to make family life easier.”