£50 million BIG Lottery fund
Plans for a new £50 million BIG Lottery Fund initiative to support young Scots leaving care and older people with dementia and their carers can transform many thousands of lives across Scotland, First Minister Alex Salmond said today.
Mr Salmond reaffirmed the Scottish Government's commitment to supporting those most in need as he met Alison Magee, Chair of the Scotland Committee of the BIG Lottery Fund to discuss their plans at Bute House in Edinburgh this morning.
The First Minister said:
"The Scottish Government is working with agencies and charities across the country to achieve a fairer Scotland with opportunities for all to flourish and the decision to invest £50 million to target the needs of young care leavers, older people with dementia and their carers, will go a long way to supporting that aim.
"Lottery funding decisions are taken independently of government, but the Scottish Government has been working closely with the BIG Lottery Fund to identify key issues distinctive to Scotland and we will continue to explore innovative ways to tackle them.
"Dementia touches the lives of many thousands of Scots - both those with the condition and individuals who invest so much of their time to care for their loved-ones. Dementia is a national priority for the Scottish Government. We will launch our dementia strategy next month and a revised national carers strategy later in the year - plans that will build on our investment in services to improve support for carers and those they care for.
"The Scottish Government is also committed to ensuring every child gets the chance to fulfil their potential, whether or not they have been in care; that is why we have acted to improve the educational attainment and achievement of these young people, including providing additional training and resources.
"We will continue to support the BIG Lottery Fund as it aims to ensure this planned investment makes a real difference for Scots and delivers a shared vision of transformational change in communities the length and breadth of Scotland."
Outlining the BIG Lottery Fund's plans, Ms Magee said:
"Our key aim is to use lottery funding to improve all of Scotland's communities by targeting support directly at those most in need. Through this investment package we aim to address the key challenges faced by young people leaving care and people with dementia in Scotland and their carers by focussing on the specific needs of those individuals involved.
"While some previous grant funding programmes have been set up to address one single aspect of people's lives at a time, we want to develop a new approach which looks at supporting all aspects of an individual's life together in one package; a person centred approach over a much longer period of time which is committed to driving forward positive change in peoples' circumstances.
"This significant and substantial funding package will be invested in order to make a step change to the lives and life chances of some of the most vulnerable people in Scotland today, which we believe will in turn make a positive difference to every Scottish community.
"We know that in order to more effectively tackle issues of this magnitude we must take a fresh look at how we can approach this task and how we can make this new funding work harder for us in order to achieve the high aspirations we have set ourselves. That's why we are delighted to have already benefitted from the wholehearted support of the Scottish Government in developing today's announcement and are committed to working with them and other key stakeholder in these areas over the coming months to examine innovative and effective ways in which we can deliver this investment efficiently and effectively over a long term period."
In December 2009 the BIG Lottery Fund announced that it has around £400m in total to invest in Scotland from 2010 to 2015 - £100 million more than initially anticipated. Plans for the remainder of the money will be finalised in due course.
Dementia usually develops slowly and causes impaired memory, thinking and judgement. There are an estimated 71,000 Scots with dementia - this is expected to rise to 127,000 by 2031. Nearly half of those with dementia need daily care and around one-in-three require round-the-clock care. Scottish public sector spending on dementia is estimated to be over £1 billion per year. The Dementia Strategy, to be published next month, will address five areas: treatment and managing behaviour; diagnosis and patient pathways; improving service response; rights, dignity and personalisation; and health improvement, public attitudes and stigma.
There are more than 657,000 unpaid carers in Scotland, with as many as one in five caring for people with dementia. The Scottish Government has invested £9 million to support the local delivery of carer information strategies. The Concordat between the Scottish Government and CoSLA includes a commitment to progress towards the provision of 10,000 extra respite weeks. An extra £4.2 million has been provided in 2009-10 and 2010-11 to help councils reach this target by 2011. The Scottish Government and CoSLA has worked with carers and other stakeholders to develop a Young Carers and Carers Strategy, to be launched later this year.
There are more than 15,000 children looked after by Scottish local authorities and nearly 3,500 young people eligible for aftercare services. Local authorities must prepare young people for leaving care, providing advice, guidance and assistance for them once that has happened, up to the age of 21. Outcomes for looked-after children and young care-leavers are poor over several indicators. For example, recent figures showed that approximately 12 per cent of young people aged between 15 and 21 who were eligible for aftercare services had experienced homelessness on one or more occasion. The Scottish Government is working with a range of agencies to improve these outcomes.