About Us

The number of people with dementia is growing and we want to help make their lives as normal and as positive as possible.

Dignity in Dementia, established in March 2014, works with families, health and social care staff and Community groups in Cumbria and Lancashire to educate and inspire, so that they are able to respond confidently and positively to people with dementia in a way that maintains and enhances their dignity.  We also work with Cumbria Constabulary, The Royal British Legion and other community associations.

Meet the team

Diane Smillie

Diane Smillie

Co-founder & Director

Diane has managed the provision of home care and residential care since 2000. In this time she has gained tremendous experience and understanding in the care of elderly people and in particular people with dementia.

During the past 20 years, Diane has acquired a first-hand insight into the complexities for families caring for their elderly relatives who have dementia, whether that is living in their own home or within a dementia specialist Home. She has worked with family members to try to ease their burden of guilt and increase their understanding of how their loved one could possibly be feeling living with dementia. Her approach was learnt mainly working with people with dementia and by completing the Person Centred Dementia programme with the organisation ‘Dementia Care Matters and with Bradford University.

She has worked extensively with Adult Social Care and the County Council in Cumbria over the years in workforce development and service improvement. Diane has over 30 years management experience and has qualifications in management, care management, QCF assessment and internal verification, plus numerous other care related qualifications.

More recently Diane has developed her dementia skills/knowledge by learning from world reknown Dementia Specialists such as Teepa Snow, an Occupational Therapist and Dementia Educationalist.

Diane leads on the operational aspects of the business.  This includes customer relations, coaching & supervision of project staff.

Guy Huxtable

Guy Huxtable

Non-executive Director

Guy is a Co-founder and Director of Wingspan Consulting Ltd.  Wingspan is a management consultancy based in Cumbria – with particular interest in working with third sector organisations, and in social care training.

Guy has chaired the Care Sector Alliance: Cumbria’s Education and Training Providers’ forum since 2010 and sits on the board. He specialises in research and evaluation, in project and programme management and in supporting organisations to develop policies and strategies.

He has lived in Cumbria since 1997, having moved up to work for the Lake District National Park Authority.

Lesley Gill

Lesley Gill

Co-founder & Director

Lesley has worked in adult social care since 1995. Her first role involved supporting individuals with learning disabilities and physical disabilities to find meaningful work. She then became the training manager with responsibility for the learning and development of over 200 staff before moving to work for a specialist learning disability training organisation.

In 2004 Lesley joined Cumbria County Council with the remit to support the workforce development needs of the county’s independent social care providers and raise awareness of the need for dignity to be embedded within care services. She did this by developing and managing Care Sector Alliance Cumbria, viewed nationally as an innovative and cutting-edge partnership which won a number of awards. She also led the work of the Cumbria Multi-Agency Dignity Steering Group and sat on the North West Dignity Leads Network, which she continues to do.

Whilst working with Care Sector Alliance Cumbria, Lesley worked hard to embed changes in the way that dementia care services are delivered in Cumbria. She also successfully completed the year long ‘Person Centred Dementia programme’.

Lesley has a Post Graduate Diploma in Education and various other training qualifications.  Recently she has extended her knowledge and skills through learning with many leading dementia specialists inlcuding Teepa Snow. She is Dignity in Dementia’s Development Lead, which includes gaining new business, writing funding bids, carrying out research and evaluation, producing project reports & financial oversight.

Our Advisory Group

Our Advisory Group

To ensure that the information we provide is relevant and meaningful to people with dementia and their family members we facilitate an Advisory Group. The group comprises of the family carers who support our work and who we have worked with previously. Because they understand and use our approach to dementia care they have a good understanding of our philosophy and are well placed to suggest new developments, as well as share their opinions about our many ideas. Additionally they help keep us abreast of the realities of caring for someone with dementia on a daily basis.  The group meets monthly, and as well as considering Dignity in Dementia’s work, have become a support group for each other.

Volunteers

We have a core set of volunteers who support various aspects of our work.  Most have been or are currently family carers supporting a relative with dementia.  They help us run our Dementia Embracing Community Singing Groups, assist us at Dementia events and willingly get involved in many other projects.