Institutions to lead £1.7m-funded network to support people at risk of dementia

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The neurodegenerative condition currently affects more than 944,000 people in the UK

University College London (UCL) and the University of Exeter are set to co-lead a new national Dementia Network Plus initiative supported by more than £1.7m in funding.

The Sustainable Prevention, Innovation and Involvement NETwork (SPIINNET) will help to reduce dementia risk and improve people’s experiences of living with dementia by supporting new projects and engaging with communities.

Affecting more than 944,000 people in the UK, dementia is a neurodegenerative condition that affects the ability to remember, think or make decisions in everyday life.

The new network will combine researchers from 14 universities with specialist organisations, including King’s College London, the University of Plymouth, Bangor, Cardiff Metropolitan, East Anglia, Northampton, Nottingham, Oxford, Southampton, Stirling, Strathclyde, Sunderland and Worcestershire.

SPIINNET aims to utilise existing networks and umbrella organisations to deliver a programme to create connections between the experience, knowledge and resources of people across the network while improving the quality of experience for people with dementia, families, communities, the NHS and social care.

It will include workshops to design research projects, training events, funding innovative ideas, meetings to raise awareness about dementia and prevention, and annual conferences to share learning.

The University of Exeter’s professor Chris Fox, network co-lead, commented: “This funding will enable our new [network] to action the latest research both to prevent dementia and to work with people who have the condition to help them access early support and live the best lives possible.”

Network co-lead, Dr Georgina Charlesworth, UCL psychology and language sciences, said: “I hope that our work over the next four years will make a meaningful contribution to brain health, especially for those in at-risk or under-represented communities.”

Last month, the Alzheimer’s Society, Dementia UK, Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK Dementia Research Institute and Alzheimer Scotland collaborated to create a new manifesto for dementia, calling on the new UK government to make dementia a key health priority in the UK.

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