As I write this, I’ve just had the privilege of taking part – albeit by videolink – in an event held by one of the Scheme’s member Trusts. It was one of several events they’re holding to boost insight into the Scheme’s dementia care approach and the idea was that I would talk for a while about the background to the creation of the Scheme, then staff could ask questions. The recording of my presentation will then be used at all future events in the series.

It was hard to think how to present something like that, because the Scheme’s creation was almost two decades ago and it’s all so well-established now – so, in some ways, it almost seems irrelevant how it all started; so much has happened since and dementia care has kept on evolving and improving in the member organisations, but I realise certain points do remain relevant to this day.

People still find it interesting that a family carer of a mum with dementia started the Scheme – although the fact that that carer was also a leader in education does help to explain that element, because the Scheme is very firmly based on education. Something that does cause people to reflect is that all three key elements to the Scheme were so revolutionary at the time of the Scheme’s creation that many people doubted that they were even possible – yet now, all these years later, all three are established as part of the National Dementia Strategy. To me, this illustrates the importance of considering the possible, rather than presuming that things can’t be done, simply because they’ve not been done yet, or “that’s not how we do things”!

What was really uplifting is that, all those years ago, people were hearing about the Scheme when many of them knew very little at all about dementia. Nowadays, they’ll have heard far more about dementia, so “all” they have to learn is how to contribute positively to the care of someone living with dementia. That was very clear from the thoughtful approach of the team members attending this event.

Thank you to the wonderful team at NELFT for inviting me to speak and for making me so very welcome. Each and every member team has its own personality, but together they form part of a wider network of teams – and I thank them all for what they’re doing and for the warm and thoughtful way they’re doing it.