Are you a carer?

Please watch my short film, which includes families and carers reading from the letters they sent me.

If you're a carer and you'd like to send a letter in, you can post it to Tommy on Tour, 39 crosslee street glasgow g521sl. You can also email it to

Monday, 29 September 2014

Speaking Dundee University mental health students October 24th

With great thanks to mike Ramsay lecturer on mental Health at Dundee University for inviting me to speak to mental health students on October 24th at 11am 

I had the great honor to speak there a few times  last year to nursing , mental health and social care students 

Looking very much forward to returning to speak again 

Thank you Mike for the invite back again 


Sunday, 28 September 2014

Wednesday-Edinburgh University Health e-Health Seminar WEBINAR with #alissproject


Very honoured And looking forward to attending ,supporting and taking part in a live webinar with / for Jane Programme Director @alissproject @alliancescot

The webinar  – Wed 1 October, 1:30pm – 2:30pm  is hosted by BCS Health Scotland and in conjunction with University of Edinburgh. 

Jane  Will be presenting at a lecture theatre in Edinburgh University and it will be broadcast live on the internet via on the aliss project and I will be speaking very briefly about our story 

Thank you Jane for the kind invite to take part 



Edinburgh University Health and Social Care Integration: e-Health Seminar



Co-producing health: technology and open data as an enabler of health partnerships in Scotland


This seminar explores the origins, development and application of an open source technology and ecosystem called ALISS (A Local Information System for Scotland); reflecting on its role in enabling inclusive health partnerships and improving health and wellbeing within our communities. 

Set in the context of the lived experience of carer and campaigner, Tommy Whitelaw, the seminar introduces health assets and their importance to our health and wellbeing. It examines the approach taken to the development of the ALISS technology and its application to date within the context of Primary Care. The seminar closes with a call to all citizens to become involved in co-creating health: whether in gathering, maintain and sharing asset information or in conducting further research in this area. 

Jane Ankori

Jane Ankori is a Programme Director at the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland, with responsibility for the ALISS (A Local Information for Scotland) Programme. Prior to her current role, Jane worked for thirteen years within a Health Board in Scotland, focussing predominately on informationsharing. Her roles spanned intranet, e-health culture change, project & programme management, improvement science, clinical portal, long term conditions and health and social care integration programmes. A mother and proponent of inclusion and human rights, Jane is passionate about the use of technology to support the transformation of health and social care in Scotland.



Tommy Whitelaw 

For five years Tommy was a full-time carer for his late mother Joan who had Vascular Dementia and in 2011 undertook a walk around Scotland’s towns and cities to collect hundreds of life story letters detailing the experiences of individuals caring for a loved one living dementia.

Since then, he has engaged with thousands of carers through his ‘Tommy on Tour’ blog and as Project Engagement Lead with the Health and Social Care Alliance’s Dementia Carer Voices Project, conducting frequent talks to health and social care professionals and carer organisations across Scotland, to raise awareness of the impact of dementia on families and the importance of empowering carers in carrying out their difficult but vital role.

Friday, 26 September 2014

The lights are bright ,but I have nowhere to go


I spend most of my days on trains,traveling to and back from talks and all of my nights at home alone 
It has been a very busy year with a total of 178 talks from January to December confirmed 
I think I am at talk 140 after today 

I arrived Glasgow Central just after 10pm this evening after attending and speaking at a wonderful patients stories event in Hatfield Hertfordshire this is quite a theme of late 

It's Friday night and the bright lights of Glasgow are shining and full with people moving between resteraunts and bars ,Glasgow certainly is a vibrant lively city at weekends 

I spent a big  part of my life touring before caring for mum and most nights working at concerts and going out afterwards every night felt like a Friday night back then 

For the last 7 years I have hardly been out when caring for mum for 5 years this was not an option or possible and sometimes what you don't do or see you do not miss 

 since mum passed away I have been putting all my efforts in to trying to keep the promise I made to mum and to those who send Their stories to try and make a difference as best I can 

Walking through town tonight to get the bus home watching people enjoying a Friday night with friends I realised no matter how bright those lights are I have nowhere to go ,my campaign  I feel and hope has grown but life has stood still 

I keep meeting so many amazing inspiring people and today was no different the people I met inspired me ,the problem is tonight is also no different  as I walk through the door to this dark and lonely house I call my home 

The lights tonight in town are left behind in many ways much like the life I used to know 



Wednesday, 24 September 2014

2000 pledges- A million thanks yous - Team Dementia Carer Voices

The Dementia Carer Voices team would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has made a pledge as part of the ‘You Can Make a Difference’ campaign and we are absolutely delighted to have received over 2000 pledges! This is an incredible milestone, and is only possible due to the commitment and compassion from everyone who has attended a talk or read about the campaign and made a promise to make a positive difference in the lives of people with dementia and their carers.
    Pledges Presentation Slide 1
The team have been taking the You Can Make Difference campaign to staff and students throughout the UK to highlight that no matter what their role, everyone working in Health and Social Care Services has the potential to transform the lives and experiences of people with dementia and their carers, often in seemingly small ways. 

The talks involve Project Engagement Lead Tommy Whitelaw sharing his own personal experiences from caring for his late mum, Joan, and the experiences of others who have written to him since he went on tour in 2011. The campaign allows staff the opportunity to reflect on these personal stories and make a pledge based on one key message or action that they will take away and apply to their everyday practice to make a difference. 
Pledges 3
Tommy Whitelaw, Dementia Carer Voices Project Engagement Lead, said: 
“Carers tell us that a little bit of time, listening and understanding can make an unimaginable difference during what can be a very difficult and lonely journeyThe pledges that we have received have been truly inspiring, and we’re looking forward to working with people and seeing those pledges fulfilled.”
Irene Oldfather, Director, the ALLIANCE said:
 “This work reaches out and touches the hearts of many people, not least Health and Social Care students and professionals. These interactions are an ideal opportunity for staff to pause and reflect on what is really important to the people in their care.  Make a pledge, make a difference.”

photo 9
How you can make a pledge 
We launched the ‘You Can Make a Difference’ Campaign in February of this year and it has been so inspiring to see it grow. The campaign  has really shown the difference that every single person can make, no matter how small it may seem. If you have been inspired to make a pledge , please get in touch and email us your pledge at
Your response has been truly inspiring, so from all of us here – thank you. We really can all make a difference.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Today Speaking Hertfordshire Patient Stories Conference


With great thanks to Catherine Pelley Deputy Director of Nursing and Quality (Patient Experience) Hertfordshire and South Midlands Area Team for the kind invite to speak at the Hertfordshire Patient Stories Conference 26th September being held at the Fielder Centre Conference Centre
Catherine and I both follow each other  on twitter and I am very honored to be invited to attend and speak  

Looking forward to meeting Catherine ,all the team and all who attend


Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

Dementia Carer Voices Get Involved

Get Involved

Thank you very much for your interest in getting involved with the Dementia Carer Voices project. There are a number of ways you can do so, detailed below.

Survey survey

Dementia carer Voices has put together a short survey for people who have experience of caring for someone with dementia. The survey should not take long to complete, and will be open until Friday 31st October. You can contribute and have your say on your hopes and concerns for the future by visiting:

Make a pledge   pledge

The team have been encouraging people to make a pledge; a promise to make a difference in the lives of people with dementia, their families and their carers. Please email your pledge to

Tweet us!  twitter

Follow us on twitter and tell us your thoughts @DementiaCarerVo

Newsletter images

The Aug/Sept Dementia Carer Voices Newsletter is now out!
If you would like to receive our monthly newsletter, please subscribe to our mailing list by sending us an email here.

YouTube  untitled

Take a look at the Dementia Carer Voices YouTube channel and keep up to date with the latest films and interviews.

Events  calendar

Please find attached a list of upcoming talks for this year. If you would like to attend one of the talks, please get in touch using the contact form below.
  • 19.09.14  University West of Scotland Ayr; 2 talks
  • 26.09.14  Hertfordshire University
  • 01.10.14  Speaking Ailsa Hospital, Ayrshire
  • 03.10.14  End of Life Care Event, City Hospital Birmingham
  • 04.10.14  Portobello Book Festival
  • 7-9 10 14  DCV Exhibition stand at SG
  • 08.10.14  6Cs Live Conference in Birmingham NHS England
  • 10.10.14  Lanarkshire Acute Care for Older People
  • 14.10.14  Hope CafĂ© Lanarkshire
  • 20.10.14  Speaking at City Hospital Birmingham
  • 22.10.14  Speaking at Glasgow Caledonian University
  • 23.10.14  2 events – Social workers in Warrington
  • 27-30.10.14  NHS Highland Tour
  • 31.10.14  Citizens Advice Direct AGM
  • 31.10.14  HMFA Scotland Conference in Perth
  • 03.11.14  Sunderland City Hospital – Planning for your future care conference
  • 12.11.14  Wolverhampton End of Life Care Conference
  • 13.11.14  NHS Western Isles Tour
  • 20.11.14  Derbyshire NHS Trust End of Life Conference
  • 26.11.14  Protected Learning Time GP Practices, Murrayfield
  • 02.12.14  NHSGGC Learning Session
  • 05.12.14  Cohort13 Senior Charge Nurse Conference


Have you attended one of the Make a Difference talks? Let us know what you think! We’ve gathered some of our latest feedback but would love to hear your thoughts on the project, the campaign or the talks. Please let us know by using the contact form below.

Get in Touch

Thanks for reading my blog, You can now view my 8 short flims here!
DCV photo DementiaCarerRGBlandscape3_zpsa2f3d5ff.jpg

My mums name was Joan Whitelaw - our 6 short films

Tommy’s speech, providing a carer’s perspective,  on the theme of “No – one ever asked >” highlighted the transformational impact that listening, kindness and understanding made to his journey as a carer, and the importance of looking beyond a person’s diagnosis to engage with them as an individual.

If you would like to access further information about the Collaborative and to view presentations from the latest learning session, please click here.

In 2011 Tommy produced a short film in conjunction with Alzheimer Scotland. The video, which was later shown at the Scottish Parliament, includes families and carers reading from the letters they sent him during his dementia awareness tour of Scotland’s towns and cities. To view the FILM

  Interview for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde Patients’ Stories Library
The NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde's Patients' Stories Library for Hospital Staff aims to use patients’ and carers’ experiences to look at how acute services can be improved.
Tommy shared his story with frontline staff working across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, including the Ward staff that cared for his mother at the Southern General hospital. His film interview was also shown across a number of NHSGGC hospital sites during Carers Week 2013 to help raise awareness amongst staff about the importance of supporting carers in contributing to delivering person centred care.

 It’s Ok to Ask for Help!

The It’s Ok to Ask DVD produced by NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Glasgow City Council, The Alliance and Alzheimer Scotland uses carers’ experiences to highlight the benefits of using carer support services in Glasgow, and encourages people to ask for help. Tommy Whitelaw, Alliance Scotland, shares experiences of looking after a partner, parent, relative, friend or neighbour with dementia. Other carers tell us about help they get from support services in Glasgow. FILM

Speaking Care Inspectorate Seminar 

Published on 7 Nov 2013
Tommy recently spoke to our inspection team to talk about his experiences of caring for his mum Joan Whitelaw, who died last year after living with dementia for several years. He spoke about the difficulties he had getting the right services for his mum at the right time and how this led him to take his dementia awareness campaign "On Tour"

National Dementia Awareness Week 2014 (England) – NHS Employers Nursing Times - my Filmed interview

To mark National Dementia Awareness Week which runs from 18 to 24 May, NHS Employers the Nursing Times are working with the Alzheimer’s Society to promote resources available to NHS organisations and the NHS workforce.
As part of this activity, they have specially commissioned a short video of an interview with Dementia Carer Voices’ very own Tommy Whitelaw.

You can get more information here on NHS Employers 
This video was made to mark this year’s Dementia Awareness week 

Monday, 22 September 2014

My mum I just miss you so -

I just miss my mum so much .I have been pottering around the house all morning as I do most weekends and evenings and ther is a feeling of great emptiness in this house and in my heart 

I don't miss dementia - dementia does not define my mum.My mum was magnificent kind and caring but there is no escape from all dementia brought to mums life and mine as a son to witness 

I miss both mum and Dad  ,over twenty years ago I started a life touring the world and making great times and great mistakes and even from a distance shared the great times with my parents.I am absolutely greatful for the support,advice and help they gave to the msitakes and struggles I personally faced along the way. I was a lucky boy to have such parents 

Never imagining that 20 years later my mum would be diagnosed with dementia and I would become  a carer.Now there is a description that's sits slightly uneasy .people keep saying " you cared for your mum " that is only half the story .even with all mum faced she always cared for her son.on the days we where both struggling on the days I was falli apart .on my knees and broken,this wonderful mum could make it all better with a squeeze of my hand or the love from her eyes 

That's what mums and dads do no matter what they face they make it better for their children ,no mater how young or old their children are ,no matter how far or close they May be 

And I miss that so much.I miss the support ,kindness that squeeze of the hand the love and care in mums eyes 

You took much away dementia but never the love and care a mother had for her children and for all she met and knew 

I just  miss you mum 





                                                             love - story


                                                            Love story 


                                                                         Mother -