Dementia Friends Rise In St Helens

THE number of Dementia Friends in St Helens has more than doubled in three years, it has been revealed.

More than 2.5 million people across the UK have signed up as a Dementia Friend, which is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative.

A Dementia Friend is somebody that learns about dementia so they can help other people within their community.

According to a new report, the number of Dementia Friends in St Helens has consistently rose month-on month since April 2016 (7,421).

Currently, there are 15,702 Dementia Friends recorded in the borough.

St Helens Libraries have successfully rolled out Dementia Friends across the department.

Last year, all six local authorities within the city region signed up to the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly pledge.

At the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority meeting on Friday, members received an update on progress in the city region to meet the pledge, which includes 10 key actions.

One of these is to appoint ‘Dementia Champions’ to work with advocacy groups and engage with voluntary community and faith organisations, as well as engaging with the business community.

Currently, there are 45 Dementia Champions across organisations in St Helens.

Kirsty Pearce, the combined authority’s director of policy and strategic commissioning, said the role is an “important role in promoting dementia awareness and understanding”.

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram also encouraged council chiefs to undertake dementia awareness training, which he and his office have already completed.

Mr Rotheram said the training was “extremely informative” and highlighted some of the day-to-day challenges those living with dementia face.
“I encourage anybody who hasn’t yet done that to do it,” Mr Rotheram said.

“It really is a genuine eye-opener.

“You think you know about it because it’s in the news but actually when you see some of the things that people have to overcome, it’s really quite scary.”

Members noted the progress done to date and agreed to come back in one year for a further update on progress.

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