In January of this year, Alzheimer Scotland Borders resource centre moved into Kelso town centre.
And it has helped the organisation reach many more people living with dementia in the Borders.
Manned by just four members of staff, the team are ably supported by dedicated local volunteers who help run a wide range of services for those who have been diagnosed, their families and carers.
From official 2017 figures 2468 people are currently living with dementia in the Borders, although this is likely to be a lot lower than the actual figure.
And it’s for that reason Alzheimer Scotland Borders is now keen to let our readers know about its services.
The newly opened resource centre in Kelso is a one-stop shop for people looking for information.
It is currently open three days a week, Monday to Wednesday, from 10am to 2pm. But the team are keen to extend those hours, if additional volunteers can be found.
Rebecca Rogers, the community activities organiser, explained: “The Borders group has been going for around 14 years.
“We used to be based in the community hospital in Kelso but people, sometimes even hospital staff, didn’t know we were there.
“So we relaunched in January in our new premises right in the heart of the town centre, at 19 Bridge Street, which has made us far more visible and accessible.
“We opened on January 18 and the response has been amazing – people now know where we are and regularly pop in for information.
“Often when people are waiting for a diagnosis or have been newly-diagnosed, they don’t know where to turn.
“The resource centre can signpost them to a multitude of agencies for help.
“As we have a small team, and are often out in the local communities, we’re currently open three days a week.
“We’d love to expand that but would need more local volunteers to enable that – we’d be delighted to hear from anyone who is interested in helping out.”
Although based in Kelso, the team covers the whole of the Borders – offering Dementia Friend sessions to businesses and groups who want to find out more about the condition.
Lasting 45 minutes to an hour, the sessions equip participants with a better understanding of dementia.
Rebecca said: “We’ve done a lot of sessions with local businesses and groups.
“Scottish Borders Council is also the first local authority in the country to enlist every single elected councillor on the course.
“We’ve also had sessions with scouts, cubs, beavers and at schools.
“The aim is to take away the stigma and negativity and to arm all ages with knowledge about dementia and how it impacts those who’ve been diagnosed.
“It’s important to get young people involved at an early age so that they can understand it if a family member or they themselves are diagnosed.
“Dementia affects all ages, with people as young as 30 being diagnosed. That’s something a lot of course participants don’t realise.”
Many businesses which undertake the training go on to support the charity, such as Hastings Property and Legal which kindly donated £300 to the D-Cafe in Kelso.
That will allow the group to cover the cost of refreshments for people living with dementia and their carers who attend on the last Friday of every month from 10am to 11.30am at Café U in Roxburgh Street.
Many other services are also available in the Borders, in partnership with several local organisations.
Town and Sporting Memories, in association with the council, Live Borders and Galashiels Rugby Club, is held at the club on the third Friday of the month from 1pm to 4pm.
The Borders Dementia Working Group, with Borders Care Voice, helps to campaign for change.
And a new musical memories group is also launching this month, on the last Wednesdsay of the month, at Turnbull Court in Duns from 1pm to 3pm.
There are a further two dementia cafes, in the Co-Op Community Room in Jedburgh on the first Monday of the month and in Hawick Masonic Lodge on the third Thursday of the month, both from 1.30pm to 3pm.
Rebecca added: “We have a lot of great partnerships locally and many fantastic volunteers who we couldn’t do without.
“Jim Sykes, who runs the Hawick cafe for example, has done a power of work and that group attracts 40 to 50 people every month. He’s done an amazing job for us.”
To find out more or if you would like to volunteer, call the resource centre on 01573 400324 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the Borders service, visit www.alzscot.org/services_and_support/search/1964_borders_services.