Food Buddies

Food Buddies was a project developing peer support for people with dementia and for carers, with a focus on aspects of food and keeping well. It involved helping peer support work well for people across a range of situations and stages of dementia and caring.

Food Buddies was a way for people to encourage and support each other around food.

  • It starts with the concerns and priorities of a group of people in their community.
  • Each project builds on the assets of that community – the experience and skills of all the people involved, professional expertise and the resources in the local area.
  • There is reciprocity, rather than some people receiving a service from others.
  • The approach focuses on supporting and building relationships.
  • Food Buddies aims to be sustainable and for the impact to continue beyond a project that gets activities underway in an area.
  • Food Buddies complements what other food projects and other social inclusion projects do, and works in partnership with them.
  • It is for all older people who want some company or support around food – shopping, cooking, eating and enjoying meals together.
  • It includes people who are not looking after themselves so well, such as following a bereavement or when they have health problems, including people who have dementia and their carers.

It started in October 2015 with funding over 5 years from Life Changes Trust. The project started in 2 locations in Borders, then stretched to reach other locations including Falkirk.

Food Buddies ended in 2020, with lasting local effects through the dementia-inclusive cafes and relationships of mutual learning and support.

Food buddies logo

What we're doing

Activities included:

  • Bringing people together for activities like cooking classes, food art sessions, and sessions on adapting to people’s changing food needs
  • Encouragement and support for people living with dementia and carers on ways to look after yourself
  • One-to-one peer support for people who prefer this and to help people follow up on the group activities
  • Long-term support as people’s circumstances change for people who want this

A second aim was to share the experience of the people involved in the project:

  • Raising awareness about the benefits of peer support among people affected by dementia
  • Reaching more people through Tips, recipe books and the like highlighting practical tips on what can help as well as raising awareness
  • Raising awareness among shops, food producers and retailers on what they can do to help.

The impact it's having so far

Food Buddies has made lasting impacts on local dementia-inclusive access to food support and opportunities to talk about and enjoy food. The changes include:

  • Local cafes and organisations have more knowledge and understanding around accessibility and differences in how we enjoy food as we age
  • We shared dementia-inclusive cafe resources, co-created with people living with dementia, older people, family and friends, carers and cafes
  • We shared tips from people living with dementia around the kinds of food support that make a difference
  • Food Buddies adapted to Covid-19, sharing resources for supporting neighbours with food


Garden Buddies

In the last year Borders Food Buddies has ‘branched’ out to grow a separate offshoot project, Garden Buddies. This project came about in a very natural, organic way when we met people living with dementia who were attending a local day centre.

Garden Buddies is a project where people of all ages come together to share activities such as gardening, playing games or just chatting.

Learn more here. 

This project was made possible by support from:


Dementia-inclusive Meal Tips postcards

Tips for Dementia Friendly Meals Postcards

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Changes in eating habits quick tips

Changes in eating habits as we age

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Sensory changes and dementia - Sense of taste and smell. A collection of personal experiences, hints and tips

Sensory Changes and Dementia: Sense of Taste and Smell

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Food tips for community food support. Committed to Good Support

Food Tips Postcards

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Shopping checklist screenshot

Checklist when a volunteer helps with your shopping

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Getting enough to drink Quick tips

Getting Enough to Drink – Food Buddies Quick Tips

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Food Buddies tips for friendly neighbours at times when we can't get out much

Food Buddies Tips for You & Friendly Neighbours During Times When we Can’t Get Out

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Food Buddies café checklist

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Food Buddies - Tips for days out

Food Buddies – Tips For Days Out

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