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.

Meet the team

Diane Smillie

Diane Smillie

Co-founder & Director

Diane set up Dignity in Dementia with Lesley Gill in 2014. Prior to that she had worked in Social Care for over 25 years managing highly rated domiciliary care organisations and a care home. This provided her with vast knowledge and understanding of the complexities for families that caring for their elderly relatives who have dementia can bring, whether that is living in their own home or within a dementia specialist Home.

She has a range of social care, management, training and dementia qualifications and actively searches out new opportunities to enhance her learning and CPD (Continued Professional Development)

Diane leads on Dignity in Dementia’s day-to-day operations, which includes planning and delivery of our dementia sessions, managing projects, responding to referrals and being our main link for families. She is also responsible for coaching and supervising our staff and associates.

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.

Janet Bowers

Non-executive Director

Janet cared for her husband who had dementia and during this time, received support from Dignity in Dementia. She found our approach very helpful and after her husband died, was very happy to get involved in our work. Janet is a retired PE teacher.

Lesley Gill

Lesley Gill

Co-founder & Director

Lesley started her Social Care career in 1995, initially supporting individuals with learning disabilities. In 2004 she joined Cumbria County Council with a remit to support the Counties social care providers to up-skill their staff. She did this by developing and managing Care Sector Alliance Cumbria, which was viewed as an innovative and cutting-edge partnership and won many awards. She also led the work of the Cumbria Multi-Agency Dignity Steering Group.

Lesley has a range of social care, management, teaching and dementia qualifications and actively searches out new opportunities to enhance her learning and CPD (Continued Professional Development).

She is Dignity in Dementia’s Development Lead and her work involves gaining funding and new business, managing contracts and having financial oversight. She also carries out research and evaluation, produces the text for all of our literature and writes our dementia themed poems.

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.