On 22 April James Macmillan will be running the 2018 London Marathon for Encourage, the Grand Union Housing Group (GUHG) brand that encompasses its supported housing services. James is hoping to raise £7,000, the cost of a Tovertafel (‘Magic Table’), an innovative piece of equipment designed to encourage participation, engagement and stimulation for those living with dementia.

James, who has been a GUHG Board Member since January 2015, said: “There is a Magic Table installed at Flowers House, GUHG’s specialist dementia scheme in Bletchley. It uses light projection to cast images onto a table which people sit around and interact with using their hands. It has sensors to detect movement and causes people’s senses to be activated with memories of things like leaves and fish.

“It is remarkable to see how it fires the imagination and the smiles of people living with dementia. It made me think about my own father who passed away not long ago, having lived with dementia for the last five years of his life, and how he would have enjoyed this innovative way of interacting with people.

“Each Magic Table costs about £7,000 to install which is why I’ve set this as my fundraising target.”

Encourage works in partnership with care providers, delivering care and support services for adults with learning disabilities and/or mental health issues as well as extra care housing, retirement housing, community alarm and support, domestic abuse refuges and day care for people living with dementia.

GUHG’s Head of Independent Living, Deborah Stuart, said: “We provide a welcoming environment for residents and provide tailored services to meet their needs. Residents receive personalised support packages and they and their families are consulted and involved in decisions about their home.

“It’s always inspiring when people want to raise money to help improve the lives of others so we’re very grateful to James and all of our Marathon runners who are fundraising for Encourage this year.”

James added: “I had never planned to run the London Marathon, but every time I went to support a friend who did, I appreciated what a massive effort they had made and the galleries of people cheering them on made it an incredible day. It will be a huge challenge but I’m hoping to complete it in four and a half hours. Wish me luck!”