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Friday 10 October 2014

Cheshire East Council ‘dementia friendly’ campaign inspires volunteers across the borough


More than 1,600 people across Cheshire East have rallied to the call to become ‘Dementia Friends’ since the national campaign was launched in the borough by Coronation Street actress Judy Holt in June.

The campaign is about recruiting and training people to spot the tell-tale signs of dementia among family and work colleagues so that help and support can be delivered at an early stage.

The call to action by Cheshire East Council has prompted businesses all over the borough to appoint Dementia Friends Champions and since the launch at Tatton Park over 80 people have come forward to be trained with more training sessions in the pipeline.

In partnership with the Dementia Action Alliance and the Alzheimer’s Society, Cheshire East Council has become the first local authority in the region to appoint a full-time Dementia Project Co-ordinator, an indication of just how seriously the Council regards the urgency of the problem and how well the people of the borough have responded.

The coordinator will drive forward the campaign and the message to employers, organisations and local communities that dementia is a slowly-developing and life-changing condition that can develop in men and women of all age groups and not just the older person.

Judy Holt, also starring in the police drama Scott and Bailey, became a champion of the national campaign to create awareness of dementia following her role as Lesley Kershaw in The Street.

She said:

“I am so pleased that so many people and organisations in Cheshire East are responding to the call to be a part of such an important campaign aimed at supporting people with dementia and to spot the early signs of this dreadful disease. I would appeal for more people to come forward to volunteer as Dementia Friends.”

The Leader of Cheshire East Council, Councillor Michael Jones, said: “Within three months of launching this campaign we have over 1,600 people who have volunteered to help others by being trained to spot the tell-tale signs of dementia, a cruel disease.

“We want to promote a concerted community effort to support individuals with dementia, spot the give-away signs and lead organisations and businesses towards a Corporate Social Responsibility policy which involves them in a developing a support network to help those with dementia or showing early signs of dementia.”

Since the Council launched its Dementia Awareness event, 80 people have been trained as Dementia Champions.  They are volunteers who have agreed to drive forward the message within their workplace or community.

Councillor Jones added: “Yes, we need many more volunteers but I am so proud of those people who have already come forward and cannot thank them enough.”

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