Black and Minority Ethnic Dementia Service wins Alzheimer Europe’s Anti-Stigma Award at a special ceremony in Helsinki


Helsinki, 18 October 2023 – Yesterday evening, at a special award ceremony during the Networking Dinner of the 33rd Alzheimer Europe Conference (#33AEC), Touchstone’s BME (Black and Minority Ethnic) Dementia Service was announced as the winner of Alzheimer Europe’s 2023 Anti-Stigma-Award. Touchstone provides health and wellbeing services to thousands of people across Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom.

Alzheimer Europe, in collaboration with the Alzheimer Europe Foundation, Lilly and Roche launched a call for applications in April 2023, with the aim of giving recognition to an outstanding initiative combating stigma and promoting a positive image of dementia and people living with dementia. This year’s call focused on initiatives and campaigns addressing the stigma experienced by people with dementia and their carers from minority ethnic groups, the LGBTQ+ community, people with intellectual disability and/or Down syndrome and from socio-economically disadvantaged groups. Applications were open to individuals and organisations established in a member country of Alzheimer Europe for initiatives and projects which were developed and/or implemented in the past three years (2020-2023).

The first place award, together with a cash prize of EUR 5,000 was presented by Iva Holmerová, the Treasurer of the Alzheimer Europe Foundation.

The second place award, with a cash prize of EUR 3,000, was presented by Helen Rochford-Brennan from the Alzheimer Europe Foundation. It was awarded to Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard’s initiative “Rainbow Neighbours”. Switchboard is a charity for LGBTQ people looking for a sense of community, support or information.

The third place, with a cash prize of EUR 1,500, was scooped up by Hogeschool Windesheim (Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands) for its campaign “Assess your assumptions”. The award was given by Heike von Lützau-Hohlbein, Chairperson of the Alzheimer Europe Foundation.
During the Networking Dinner on the evening of 17 October, held at The Old Student House in Helsinki and moderated by Kim Coppes from Live Online Events, the three finalists were invited to present their initiatives, before the winner and runners-up were announced.

“We feel seen, we feel heard”

The winning initiative was presented by Ripaljeet Kaur from Touchstone for its project BME Dementia Service. BME Dementia Service provides specialist support to people living with memory problems or a diagnosis of dementia and their carers/family members from Black and Minority Ethnic communities predominantly South Asian community living in and around Leeds.
Accepting the 1st place Anti-Stigma Award, Riplajeet Kaur said:
“I am deeply humbled to be selected for the Anti-Stigma Award 2023. I share this award with a dedicated team and the courageous individuals who have shared their dementia journey stories.
Let this award be a symbol of hope, encouraging others from diverse communities to speak up and seek help so they too may be able to live well with dementia without the multi layers of stigma attached.
Thank you to everyone who has contributed to and networked with our service.  Let's continue this journey towards a more inclusive and empathetic world.
Our work continues, but today, we celebrate progress. Thank you for this incredible recognition.
We feel seen, we feel heard."

Rainbow Neighbours

“Rainbow Neighbours”, the initiative winning second prize was presented by John Hammond from Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard, which takes a creative approach to addressing the stigma, loneliness and isolation that can be experienced by LGBTQ+ people living with dementia, particularly those who are living in residential care settings.  Rainbow Neighbours provides transport for LGBTQ+ people living with dementia at residential care settings to join Switchboard’s fun and engaging peer support activities and broader wellbeing events.  The project also gives those living at residential care settings access to ongoing multi-generational support from other LGBTQ+ people - a “Rainbow Neighbour”.  
Accepting the Award for second place, John  Hammond said:
“Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard’s dementia support service tackles the stigmas and stereotypes that LGBTQ+ people living with or affected by dementia experience. We are delighted to have this  work recognised by Alzheimer Europe and we share the organisation’s passion for changing perceptions of dementia and prioritising inclusive dementia care for all.“

Assess Your Assumptions

Third place was awarded to Hogeschool Windesheim (Windesheim University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands) for “Assess your assumptions”. The campaign was presented by Gili Yaron. Studies by the Hogeschool Windesheim research group “Living Well with Dementia” found that health and social care professionals hold stereotypical beliefs about people with dementia especially those from minority ethnic communities. Addressing these beliefs is vital to ensure this group receives good care and support. Based on input from professionals and informal carers, the Hogeschool developed a pocket-sized card deck featuring 16 common misconceptions about culturally sensitive dementia care, to be used as conversation starters or ‘serious games’ (e.g. stereotype bingo) in practice and education.
Accepting the third place prize, Gili Yaron said:
“We’re so proud to win this award, which helps us further our goal of enabling people with dementia to live well—regardless of their background. We know that professionals are eager to provide culturally sensitive dementia care and support. By raising awareness about inclusivity, our card deck helps them do so!”
More information about the Anti-Stigma Award can be found at:

Alzheimer Europe gratefully acknowledges the support of the sponsors of the Alzheimer Europe anti-stigma award: Alzheimer Europe Foundation, Lilly and Roche.
For further information, contact: Jean Georges, Executive Director, Alzheimer Europe, 14, rue Dicks, L-1417 Luxembourg, Tel.: +352-29 79 70, Fax: +352-29 79 72,,

Notes to editors:
Alzheimer Europe is the umbrella organisation of national Alzheimer associations and currently has 42 member organisations in 37 European countries.
15 applications were received in 2023 and were reviewed by the Anti-Stigma Award Jury, which was comprised of the following representatives:
•    2022 Anti-Stigma Award Winner: Niels Janssen (Alzheimer Centre Limburg, Maastricht, Netherlands)
•    Alzheimer Europe: Maria do Rosário Zincke Dos Reis and Mario Possenti
•    Alzheimer Europe Foundation: Heike von Lützau-Hohlbein (Chairperson), Helen Rochford-Brennan and Iva Holmerová
•    European Dementia Carers Working Group: Magnús Karl Magnússon and Zornitsa Karagyozova
•    European Working Group of People with Dementia: Chris Roberts and Kevin Quaid
•    Lilly: Laura Campo
•    Roche: Jannice Roeser