Scottish social enterprise creates first personalised children’s book about dementia

A social enterprise which has created the world’s first personalised children’s book about dementia, ‘The Ally Bally Bee Project’, has been shortlisted in the Scottish Social Enterprise Awards.

Founded by Edinburgh family Matthew Adams, Nina Aikas and ‘wee Lana’, it aims to ease the distress experienced by children and families affected by dementia.

The initiative also raises money for charities such as Alzheimer Scotland, Alzheimer’s Society and other organisations nationally and internationally.

‘Dementia affects every family differently’

After raising more than £10,000 through a Kickstarter campaign earlier this year, the book is now available to buy online.

“It’s an honour to be nominated in the ‘one to watch’ category,” said project founder Matthew. “We’re just a small team doing this in our spare time so it’s nice to know our hard work is being recognised.

“To attend the ceremony at the Scottish Parliament, regardless of whether we win or not, will be a win in itself.

Dementia affects every family differently – which is why we wanted to create a children’s book that was relevant to your family’s situation.”

Made in Scotland, England and Sweden

The project has very much been ‘digital first’; the team has not met over the course of its two-and-a-half-year production. Matthew lives in Scotland, the illustrator in England and the author in Sweden.

While the result is a hard copy book, complemented by a digital edition, the development process has been solely online, using Basecamp, Slack, email and social media marketing. It has nearly 17,000 Twitter and 4,000 Instagram followers.

Worldwide, around 47 million people have dementia and the team is planning to offer versions in different languages. It also hopes to explore other subjects for future books, such as mental health, autism and cancer.

The Social Enterprise Awards celebrate the work of social enterprises throughout Scotland – with winners being announced at an awards ceremony in The Scottish Parliament in November.