University of Stirling ageing experts share pioneering work with Scotland Office minister
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Experts in ageing, dementia and housing at the University of Stirling shared their pioneering research and ambitious plans with UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord during a visit to campus today.
In a tour of the world-renowned Dementia Services Development Centre (DSDC), Lord Offord of Garvel, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Scotland, learned how the University’s research has facilitated important changes to approaches to ageing and dementia worldwide.
Lord Offord also heard details of a new intergenerational innovation centre in Clackmannanshire, which will enable and support transformative approaches to community resilience, wellbeing and economic regeneration in the region.
The state-of-the-art Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub has received £7.25 million of UK Government funding under the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal. Joining the visit was Councillor Ellen Forson, Leader of Clackmannanshire Council and Chair of the Clackmannanshire Commission, which awarded the funding to the project.
Councillor Forson and University representatives told Lord Offord that plans for the Hub are developing quickly, with more details expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
The Hub will bring together researchers, industry, healthcare providers and the third sector to develop innovative ways for an ageing population to live, work and socialise. Architects, designers, construction companies and technology providers will work in collaboration to help bring commercially and socially viable solutions to life.
Deputy Principal (Research) and Professor in Dementia and Ageing, University of Stirling
The new Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub will be a game-changer and puts the University of Stirling and Clackmannanshire at the heart of ageing research. The Hub will create opportunity, and in doing so transform the lives of older people and those with dementia, for the better.
Research has shown that dementia friendly design can sustain independence and encourage active ageing among people living with dementia. One of the DSDC’s latest initiatives, the Environments for Ageing and Dementia Design Assessment Tool (EADDAT), supports families and businesses to make homes, business premises and public places more accessible to an ageing population.
Minister Offord said: “The solutions pioneered here at the University of Stirling will make life easier for our ageing population, something that will be a great comfort to families who have a loved one dealing with dementia. It’s inspiring to see.
“Funding projects like this is exactly what the City Region Deal is all about. Not only does it invest in the Stirling and Clackmannanshire area, encouraging employment and growth, it also brings further benefits on a wider scale – in this case, through research that could make improvements on a global scale.”
Judith Phillips, OBE, Deputy Principal (Research) and a Professor in Dementia and Ageing at the University, said: “The University of Stirling is a leader in ageing and dementia design research and we were delighted to share our work with Lord Offord. The new Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub will be a game-changer and puts the University and Clackmannanshire at the heart of ageing research.”
She added: “Together with our partners in design, construction, industry and healthcare, our researchers will be making even more advances to address the global trend of an ageing population and all the demands that creates on our society. The Hub will create opportunity, and in doing so transform the lives of older people and those with dementia, for the better.”
The City Region Deal brings together £90.2 million of investment from the UK Government and Scottish Government for innovation and infrastructure that will drive inclusive economic growth throughout the region. Regional partners, including Clackmannanshire Council, Stirling Council, and the University of Stirling, will invest up to £123.8 million, resulting in a Deal worth more than £214 million, to be delivered over the next 10 to 15 years.
Councillor Ellen Forson, Leader of Clackmannanshire Council, said: "This investment is a huge milestone in the Council’s mission to improve the quality of life for every person in Clackmannanshire.
She added: “In just three years, Clackmannanshire is expected to experience the largest increase in population aged 75 and older of any Scottish local authority, whilst simultaneously seeing a significant drop in the number of people of working age. Naturally, this will create unique challenges in the near future, which the Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub is set to not only tackle head on but do so in an inclusive and sustainable way.
Leader of Clackmannanshire Council
In just three years, Clackmannanshire is expected to experience the largest increase in population aged 75 and older of any Scottish local authority... The Intergenerational Living Innovation Hub is set to not only tackle head on but do so in an inclusive and sustainable way.
“The region has a rich heritage built on change through innovation so it is a great pleasure to work collaboratively to bring together academic research, innovation, business and skills development within the heart of the Clackmannanshire to provide the opportunity to enrich both, make positive change, attract further investment, build community wealth and create a lasting legacy."
Lord Offord is given a tour of the design suite of DSDC by Lesley Palmer, Interim Director of the Centre.
Main image, L-R: Professor Alison Bowes, Professor of Dementia and Ageing, University of Stirling; Pete Leonard, Strategic Director of Place, Clackmannanshire Council; Professor Judith Phillips OBE, Deputy Principal (Research), University of Stirling; Dr John Rogers, Executive Director of Research, Innovation and Business Engagement, University of Stirling; Lord Malcolm Offord, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, UK Government; Lesley Palmer, Interim Director, Dementia Services Development Centre, University of Stirling; Cllr Ellen Forson, Leader of Clackmannanshire Council; Professor Derek McGhee, Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Stirling; Eileen Schofield, Chief Operating Officer and University Secretary, University of Stirling.