Award nomination for flourishing dementia project

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The Ally Bally Bee Project has seen an Edinburgh family create personalised stories for children

14th August 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A project which aims to help explain dementia to children has been nominated for an award.

The Ally Bally Bee Project has seen the creation of the world’s first personalised children’s book service to explain dementia to young people whose loved ones have been diagnosed

And the creators of the book – which has started to be distributed to families – have been nominated for The Social Enterprise Awards Scotland 2017.

The Ally Bally Bee Project, run by Matthew Adams, Nina Aikas and daughter Lana – an Edinburgh based family – aims to ease distress for children and families affected by dementia while also raising money for dementia charities such as Alzheimer Scotland, Alzheimer’s Society and many other national and international organisations.

After successfully raising more than £10,000 through a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, the book is now available to buy online – and can be delivered anywhere in the world.

Matthew said: “It’s an honour to be nominated in the one to watch category at the Social Enterprise Awards. We’re just a small team doing this in our spare time so it’s nice to know our hard work is being recognised. And to attend the ceremony at The Scottish Parliament, regardless of whether we win or not, will be a win in itself.

"Dementia affects every family differently – which is why we wanted to create a children's book that was relevant to your family's situation."

The family came up with the idea of creating the book when Lana was born, as they would have to one day explain to her that her great-grandmother had been diagnosed with dementia.

“The main thing behind the book is it is such a difficult subject for adults to comprehend,” Matthew added. “The idea came to me when my wife was expecting my first child. I thought one day I am going to have to explain this properly to my daughter, so how do I do this?”

With money raised from the Kickstarter campaign the Aikas-Adams family have developed a website where visitors can customise and buy a book about dementia for their own children.

Those who visit the site will be asked who the book is for; who the person living with dementia is; and how the disease affects their behaviour.

The final product is catered to the individual child, and aims to make difficult conversations with children easier. Initial copies of the book have been sent out in recent weeks, with a full launch of the product set to take place later this summer.

“The feedback already has been really overwhelming,” said Matthew. “Particularly because I have been working for this for two and a half years in my spare time. I always said that if I could help one family, or one child, then I have done my job.”

The winners of The Social Enterprise Awards will be announced at a ceremony at the Scottish Parliament in November.