Published: 24/06/2017 07:00 - Updated: 22/06/2017 07:31

Black Isle 'dementia-friendly' school ties bridge generation gap

Dementia cafe member Andy Young of Cromarty with S5 pupils Kirsty Taylor and Samantha Hutchison show off their portraits on display.
Dementia cafe member Andy Young of Cromarty with S5 pupils Kirsty Taylor and Samantha Hutchison show off their portraits on display.

A BLACK Isle school is the first in Ross-shire to be recognised as being dementia-friendly after its students developed bonds with older people in the community.

Fortrose Academy was celebrated for its involvement with Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Friendly Communities project when its pupils received a community award at a ceremony last Thursday.

Supported by Highlife Highland Youth Development, the  award was presented to students by Lord Lieutenant Janet Bowen.

The project has seen young people support older people to use the internet for the first time for banking, emails and searching for products and services such as personal aids and care homes.

In return, older people have contributed to the election process for the Highland Youth Parliament and a few hardy folk have been out on the water in the Cromarty Community Rowing Club skiff Cromba.

Along with the support of staff at High Life Highland’s youth services, a number of students at the school have also become Dementia Friends and supported the Alzheimer Scotland’s dementia café, D-Caff, in Avoch.

Beverley Hooper, the dementia-friendly community development worker at Alzheimer Scotland, said: “I am absolutely delighted to award Fortrose Academy as a Dementia-Friendly Community as an example of how with a little effort, we can all help ensure that nobody faces dementia alone.”

High Life Highland chief executive, Ian Murray, said: “By participating in areas such as our ‘getting to know your techno’ or through our Cookwell programme – where young people cook food for older people in the community – it results in some really interesting and positive inter-generational conversations and engagements taking place.

“All of this can only have a positive effect in terms of improving knowledge of dementia while contributing to assisting in other important areas such as reducing social isolation and loneliness.”

Academy pupils have also worked with John McNaught of the Highland Print Studio on a photography project involving D-Caff in Avoch.

They took black and white portraits of some people at the café and others went along to the studio to have their portraits taken by the group.

The portraits are now being displayed in an exhibition at the school and were on show at the award event.

More pictures inside this week's edition.

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