Welcome to my blog! This week I’m talking about caring, technology and social responsibility
David and I started the week at a meeting in Basingstoke with pharmaceutical giants Lilly UK who believe they are close to developing a ground breaking new drug for dementia (not a cure, but an improvement on anything currently available). There’s no doubt that we can benefit from the experience of a 150-year-old pharmaceutical company, which has spent significant amounts of time and money on dementia research. I was, perhaps naively, surprised by Lilly’s level of interest in what we’re doing. Whilst I’m aware there could be ethical issues, if there are ways we can support each other, I’m open to explore them.
In the afternoon I had a great meeting with one of the world’s most successful dementia apps MindMate (which has 20,000 users) to discuss a very exciting joint venture. We’ll be announcing more details soon.
I finished the day having dinner with my mentor Julie Fawcett who is the most positive can-do person you could ever meet. When founding Unforgettable two years ago it was Julie who helped me to develop my business model so it was great to catch up with her again.
After our weekly team meeting – another enjoyable one since we’re doing very well at the moment – I had a meeting with Luke McKeever the chairman of an exciting social network called neighbourly.com. I’m very impressed with Luke and Neighbourly which is growing rapidly and I was happy to give him some support.
I spent Tuesday afternoon at the Department of Health taking part in a National Carers Strategy event. There were around 40 of us all keen to discuss how we can raise awareness of technology to improve the lives of carers. I believe there’s a wide-scale lack of awareness; people simply don’t know that products which could help them even exist. It seemed pretty clear to me that ministers are quite scared – they know the social care budget is growing rapidly and they’re desperately trying to figure out what to do about it. I genuinely believe that organisations like Unforgettable are part of the solution. It was a fascinating discussion – and I did put my opinion across quite a lot!
Spent the whole day brainstorming ideas for our national campaign strategy, together with a bunch of very creative people, including a copywriter, a media planning agency, a PR agency, a creative campaign agency, and a social change agency. It was a very productive day – which produced lots of amazing ideas!
Back at Basingstoke to give a presentation to the senior executive team at Lilly UK. The presentation was very successful – in fact, I was slightly overwhelmed by how positive their response was.
I love Friday afternoons because that’s when I go to visit Paul, who is 92 and lives with dementia. He was poorly last week so it was a relief to see him looking a bit better and sounding less confused. We had a good conversation but I didn’t stay my usual two hours because he was quite sleepy. Visiting Paul is so life-affirming, he makes me realise how important it is to make the most of every minute.
This week Unforgettable featured in an article about the UK’s top 5 most socially responsible companies. Considering we’ve only been in business for six months, this was incredible news. We’ve been getting quite a lot of recognition recently not only from the business world but from customers telling us how much they like our products and family carers such as Stephanie Le Geyt and Virginia Bailey whose dementia stories frequently move me to tears. I’m so grateful to them all and I sincerely hope we’re beginning to make a difference.