Covid-19 Support Fund donates over £7m to Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society and Royal Voluntary Service to support people with dementia


  • Age UK will scale up a pilot programme to help maintain memory and mental function of older people with dementia by setting up 180 support groups delivered by local Age UKs in 90 communities across the country.
  • Alzheimer’s Society will create 20 new Dementia Adviser roles to make the rollout of their new Dementia Connect Service possible, and fund the Companion Calls service, providing a lifeline for people with dementia and their families.
  • Royal Voluntary Service to boost their network of support groups over the next three years: 25 new dementia support groups will be set up across Great Britain and 30 existing groups will be able to offer additional activities and support to those living with dementia.

The Covid-19 Support Fund, established by the insurance and long-term savings industry, is to donate over £7m to support people with dementia. The amount will be split between Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society and Royal Voluntary Service to boost the services they offer supporting people with dementia and their carers.

The Fund will enable Age UK to provide expert and longer-term support for older people with mild to moderate dementia and their carers, following a diagnosis. Over three years, this funding will enable Age UK to scale up the provision of a successful pilot programme delivering Maintenance Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (MCST) by setting up 180 support groups delivered by local Age UKs in 90 communities across the country. This group-based intervention is the only non-drug treatment recommended to improve cognition, independence and well-being for people living with mild to moderate dementia by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

Additionally, the grant will help Age UK to test the online delivery of these sessions for the first time, ensuring that they can continue safely in case of social distancing restrictions or further lockdowns. It will also help Age UK to ensure that older people can access expert information and advice on dementia through Age UK’s Advice Line, as well as receiving different printed guides on dementia and having access to tailored and comprehensive content on the website. The donation will also enable Age UK to provide dementia training to frontline staff and volunteers across the local Age UK network and bespoke accredited training to the staff who will be delivering MCST sessions. Overall, this grant will enable Age UK to directly reach at least 14,880 older people living with dementia and their families and carers, reaching hundreds of thousands more indirectly whilst leaving a lasting legacy of increased service provision across the country.

The Fund will allow Alzheimer’s Society to create 20 new Dementia Adviser roles over three years, meeting overwhelming demand for support and enabling the Society to rollout their new Dementia Connect service, providing what people with dementia have told them they most need. People with dementia have been hardest hit by coronavirus, accounting for over a quarter of deaths due to Covid-19 so far. And it’s not just the virus: the knock-on effects of lockdown have caused suspensions to health and social care services, upended routines, bans to care home visits and prolonged periods of social isolation which has been devastating for people with dementia. The funding will also help Alzheimer’s Society continue their Companion Calls service which provides vital opportunities for people to socialise and develop support networks which is so important for living well with dementia.

Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Advisers funded by this donation will be trained to help families with tailored practical and emotional support – by phone, email and in local communities – to help restore hope to people’s lives. The funding will also enable the charity to deploy more Dementia Advisers in the South Asian community, which is crucial when English isn’t a first language and where communication skills have been impacted by the pandemic. Alzheimer’s Society can also reach communities where there is a high demand for support yet little service provision, ensuring that more people can receive the specialist support they need over the coming years as they try and limit the lasting damage for people with dementia in the wake of this devastating pandemic.

The coronavirus crisis has been particularly difficult for people living with dementia and their carers. Wellbeing has taken a real hit and many are missing the social contact and peer support provided by dementia support groups. Funding from the Covid-19 Support Fund will enable Royal Voluntary Service to scale up their network of dementia support groups, so that as restrictions ease they will be able to provide much needed opportunities for people to socialise, benefit from peer support and take part in activities that support physical and cognitive health.  Over the next three years, 25 new dementia support groups will be set up across Great Britain and 30 existing groups will be able to offer additional activities and support to members.

Anxiety and fear of stigma mean that people living with dementia sometimes disengage from social activities and their local community. Royal Voluntary Service’s dementia support services are a safe space with volunteers who are well trained to support people living with dementia. They encourage people to come to a local social event or club and return to activities they enjoyed prior to diagnosis which is proven to be an effective way to manage dementia.

Yvonne Braun, Executive Lead at the Association of British Insurers for the Covid-19 Support Fund, said:

We’re really pleased that Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society and Royal Voluntary Service are beneficiaries of the Covid-19 Support Fund. All three charities do such important work to support people with dementia and their carers who have faced enormous challenges this year. We’d like to thank all the firms across the insurance and long-term savings industry for their generosity which will help make a real difference to the lives of people with dementia.”

Steph Harland, Chief Executive at Age UK, said:

We are tremendously grateful to the Covid-19 Support Fund for its exceptionally generous support. Age UK is determined to be here for older people most in need, and at a time when local services are under such pressure across the country, this donation will enable Age UK and our network to scale up our important work supporting people living with dementia.

“These funds will allow us to deliver new and improved dementia support services for people living with this condition and their carers - including our expert information and advice services and local dementia therapy groups. We’ll also provide crucial dementia training to our frontline staff and volunteers. Working with the Fund will enable us to offer a truly national dementia service and help us to make a difference to the lives of so many people.”

Kate Lee, CEO Alzheimer’s Society, said:

We are delighted to receive such generous support from the Covid-19 Support Fund. The provision of this funding will enable us to continue to support vulnerable people with dementia and their families in the aftermath of the pandemic and rebuild their lives after the devastating effects of lockdown. We will be able to increase our Dementia Connect support line capacity by an amazing 45% to answer thousands more calls and to meet excess demand generated by coronavirus, making sure that the 850,000 people with dementia in the UK today know they aren’t alone.

“The continuation of the Companion Calls service, which we established in response to the challenges of lockdown, will directly help to combat the ongoing social isolation and loneliness faced by so many, and keep them connected to the world around them, improving wellbeing and providing a valuable support to carers. This will be absolutely vital in the years ahead.”

Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service, said:

The pandemic has been an incredibly difficult time for people living with dementia and those who care for them. The restrictions in place mean that many have had to go without social activities, peer support and regular contact which are vital to so many who are dealing with the effects of dementia. We are incredibly excited to receive the grant from the Covid-19 Support Fund which will enable our skilled volunteers to support more people through our enhanced dementia support services.”

The Covid-19 Support Fund was launched by the insurance and long-term savings industry in May to help those who have been hardest hit by the pandemic and has since raised over £100m. Supporting the vital work of charities in supporting people with dementia is one of six areas of social need identified by the Fund to receive a donation. Further donations will be given towards mental health work, adult re-skilling, victims of domestic abuse, organisations supporting unpaid carers and people with disabilities.


Finally, this new funding is a continuation of the support shown from the Insurance and Long-Term savings sector to those with dementia through Insurance United Against Dementia’s (IUAD) partnership with Alzheimer’s Society and we would like to express our thanks for their ongoing support.




Notes for Editors

Age UK is to receive £2.99m in funding, Alzheimer’s Society will receive £2.4m and Royal Voluntary Service will receive £1.99m to support the charities’ crucial work in supporting those with dementia in the UK.

Please contact Emily Goodbrand-Dillon at Third City with any media enquiries on 07719 939 901 or


About Age UK

Age UK is a national charity that works with a network of partners, including Age Scotland, Age Cymru, Age NI and local Age UKs across England, to help everyone make the most of later life, whatever their circumstances. In the UK, the Charity helps more than seven million older people each year by providing advice and support. It also researches and campaigns on the issues that matter most to older people. Its work focuses on ensuring that older people: have enough money; enjoy life and feel well; receive high quality health and care are comfortable, safe and secure at home; and feel valued and able to participate.

Age UK’s subsidiary charity, Age International, supports older people globally in over 30 developing countries by funding programmes such as vital emergency relief and healthcare and campaigning to raise awareness and change policies.

Age UK is a charitable company limited by guarantee and registered in England (registered charity number 1128267 and registered company number 6825798). Charitable services are provided through Age UK and commercial products are offered by the Charity’s Community Interest Company (CiC) (registered company number 1102972) which donates its net profits to Age UK (the Charity).

About Alzheimer’s Society

  • Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading dementia charity. We provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Dementia devastates lives. Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia.
  • Dementia deaths are rising year on year and 225,000 will develop dementia this year - that’s one every three minutes.
  • Dementia costs the UK economy over £26 billion per year. This is the equivalent of more than £30,000 per person with dementia.
  • Alzheimer’s Society funds research into the cause, care, cure and prevention of all types of dementia, committing to spend at least £100 million on research over the next decade, and is a founding partner of the UK Dementia Research Institute.
  • Until the day we find a cure, Alzheimer's Society will be here for anyone affected by dementia - wherever they are, whatever they're going through. Everything we do is informed and inspired by them.
  • Let's take on dementia together. Volunteer. Donate. Campaign for change. Whatever you do, unite with us against dementia.
  • Alzheimer’s Society relies on voluntary donations to continue our vital work. You can donate now by calling 0330 333 0804 or visiting
  • Alzheimer’s Society provides the Dementia Connect support line (0333 150 3456)
  • Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @Alzheimerssoc and Like us on Facebook:
  • Alzheimer’s Society YouTube channel
  • Press Office: 07802 688 774 /


About Royal Voluntary Service  

  • Royal Voluntary Service is one of the largest volunteering organisations in Great Britain, providing vital, responsive services which support public health, social care and wellbeing. Its staff and thousands of volunteers support people in need, with the aim of building resilience in local communities. 
  • Originally set up as the Women’s Voluntary Service (subsequently the WRVS) in 1938, the charity began its life helping civilians during the Second World War. To mark our 75th anniversary in 2013, we became Royal Voluntary Service and welcome volunteers of all genders and backgrounds from age 14+. 
  • The charity has supported the NHS since its inception. Today’s Royal Voluntary Service NHS volunteers provide patient companionship and transport, on-ward exercise sessions, and settlement support for vulnerable patients following a stay in hospital.  
  • In local communities, Royal Voluntary Service (volunteers) run(s) physical activity classes, dining clubs and social groups which bring people together, promoting better health, social interaction and connection.
  • In March 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, NHS England commissionedRoyal Voluntary Service to recruit NHS Volunteer Responders to shield the NHS and provide practical help to the 2.5 million most at-risk people who were shielding at home. This was the biggest volunteer mobilisation programme in peacetime and represents a revolution in volunteering, using technology to register, alert and deploy volunteers quickly, wherever needed. The programme created a safety net of on-call support in every community across England and to date, NHS Responders have delivered over one million tasks supporting those in need.
  • The charity is also one of the UK’s largest hospital retailers with 230 volunteer-run shops, cafes and trolley services providing refreshments and company to patients, hospital staff and visitors.
  • Royal Voluntary Service offers a dynamic, rewarding, flexible volunteering experience, with volunteers supporting services designed to meet specific local community needs and the NHS. 
  • For more information about Royal Voluntary Service, please visit

About Insurance Against Dementia

  • Insurance United Against Dementia is a fundraising and awareness campaign led by Alzheimer’s Society and leaders from the insurance sector. All proceeds raised will support Alzheimer’s Society’s research programmes of work.
  • Find out more about Insurance United Against Dementia at
  • Follow us on Twitter @InsuranceUAD or join the Linked In group Insurance United Against Dementia