2001 – James McKillop who was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 1999 met Social Researcher Heather Williamson and both wondered why there was no group for people with dementia.  There was a voice for carers and professionals about dementia issues but no group for people with dementia.

2002- A conference is organised in Dundee by Heather and James for professionals and people with dementia. Professionals include some of our Co-opted members (Dot Weaks) and previous Co-opted members (Katrina Balmer and Sheena Short). Staff from Alzheimer Scotland and Turning Point also attended with people with dementia. It was here the idea for a Group was endorsed and a small steering group was established. The Scottish Dementia Working Group is formed.  The Group writes a constitution and more members join.  Members come mainly from the areas where the professional members of the Group have direct contact with people with dementia.   James McKillop becomes SDWG first Chairman and carries out this role for 6 years.

2003 – A meeting is held by Group members to decide whether the Group will look for funding as a completely independent group or accept Alzheimer Scotland’s invite from Jan Killeen to come under their umbrella. Members choose to link in with Alzheimer Scotland who provide initial financial and staff resources to fund and service meetings.

2004 – Alzheimer Scotland provides initial funding along with funding from Comic Relief and both share funding for 6 years. This funding secures staff and Philip Bryers is appointed the Group’s first National Co-ordinator. Philip retires after 3 years and Martin Sewell takes over as National Co-ordinator. Increased Comic Relief funding allows the appointment of Jenny Douglas as a part time Development Officer and Anne Burnside as an Administrator.

2008 – James McKillop stands down as Chair and is replaced by Edward McLaughlin, who leads the committee for two years.

2009 – SDWG consulted about Scotland’s first National Dementia Strategy.

2010 – Agnes Houston becomes Chair and undertakes the role for two years.

2011 – Funding is provided by Alzheimer Scotland and Scottish Government provides a one-grant for the year. Deborah Grossman replaces Jenny Douglas as National Development Officer. Shona Paxton replaces Anne providing admin support for the Group.

2012 – The Group celebrate their 10 year anniversary. Martin Sewell’s post becomes shared and Susan Burn joins as joint National Co-ordinator. Henry Rankin becomes Chair.

2013 – Martin Sewell retires and more funding from Scottish Government allows for two more staff members to be employed. These are Wendy Rankin as Development Officer in Dundee and Sharon Balfour as Communication Development Officer in Glasgow. Agnes Houston receives a Lifetime achievement Award and James McKillop receives Honorary Doctorate from Strathclyde University

2014 – Caroline Church replaces Martin Sewell as joint National Co-ordinator and Deborah Grossman leaves post.

2015 – Fiona Gordon takes up post as National Development Officer. Caroline Russell replaces Shona Paxton as National Team Administrator. Henry Rankin is re-elected as Chair, with Archie Noone, Peter McLaughlin and Anne Macdonald as Vice Chairs. Nancy McAdam receives the BEM (British Empire Medal) and Agnes Houston receives an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in recognition of the work they have done in raising awareness of dementia over the years.

2016 – Nancy McAdam represents the SDWG at the Alzheimer Disease International Conference in Budapest where she presents the groups ‘Travelling Safely with Dementia’ posters.




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