Page last updated at 17:24 GMT, Friday, 5 March 2010

Lottery cash for 'most in need'

Big Lottery Fund logo
The 50m will help young care leavers and people with dementia

Big Lottery funds of £50m will be used to support young people leaving care and help people with dementia, the first minister has announced.

Alex Salmond said dementia, which affects more than 70,000 people in Scotland, was a "national priority" for the government.

The money will be used to improve support for carers and those they care for.

Mr Salmond made the announcement with Alison Magee from the Big Lottery Fund.

The first minister said: "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."

He added: "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."

Funding package

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."

Chief executive of Alzheimer Scotland Henry Simmons welcomed the announcement.

He said: "It clearly shows Big Lottery Scotland's commitment to people with dementia and those who care for them.

"There are around 73,000 people in Scotland with dementia and countless family and friends who support and care for them.

"We believe that no-one should have to go through dementia on their own.

"Investment such as this will go a long way towards making life better for everyone affected by this illness."

Margaret and Hugh Lawton
Mr Lawton cares for his wife Margaret who has dementia

Hugh Lawton, 71, from Hopeman in Moray, cares for his wife Margaret, 73, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimers.

Mr Lawton said he hoped the money would be spent wisely.

He said: "I would like to see more drop-in-centres where carers can take the person they care for and the carers could talk and discuss common problems. It helps you to feel that you are not alone

"Human contact is important - Alzheimers Scotland help me on Mondays and they take Margaret out for a walk and I have been able to get things done around the house which helps, we need a lot more respite".

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