Hampshire Now - your County Council magazine

Alton to become East Hampshire's First Dementia Friendly High Street

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Alton will be officially launched as East Hampshire's first Dementia Friendly High Street on Tuesday, 1 July, with information, displays and activities such as'Singing for the Mind' all held at Alton Community Centre starting at 11 am.

Alton Town Mayor, Cllr Graham Hill, will officially launch the initiative by presenting Jay Redmond, manager of the Halifax, with the town's first Dementia Friendly shop window sticker. All businesses who have signed up to the Dementia Friendly High Street scheme are able to display a sticker in their shop window - this will show people with dementia and their carers that these organisations are committed to their staff being 'dementia aware' and knowing how to support customers with dementia.

As part of Hampshire County Council's Dementia Friendly Hampshire initiative launched with Andover Mind, one of the county's leading mental health and wellbeing charities, the business community is being called upon to get involved to enable people to live well with dementia.

Businesses are being encouraged to sign up to the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance (HDAA) which is made up of organisations committed to making a positive difference to the quality of life for people with dementia and their carers. Members of the HDAA publish their own action plans which, as well as committing to staff awareness training, may include actions such as conducting a review of environmental factors such as signage and seating and making appropriate changes.

The list of businesses and organisations who have signed up to the Dementia Friendly High Street scheme in Alton includes: Alton Community Centre; Boots; Specsavers; Lloyds Pharmacy; Alton Library; Knitting Habit; Alley Cats Beauty Parlour; Alton Pet Supplies; Kellaway Barbers; Alton Eye Care, Quirky Women, Sainsbury's, Allen Museum and Home Instead, with more joining every day.

Sarah Gardner, Local Area Co-ordinator for Dementia Friendly Hampshire and her team, Dementia Ambassadors Terry Eccott and Mike Colvin and Dementia Champions Barbara Rayner and Susie Dean are working closely with businesses to offer training in dementia awareness and encourage participation in the campaign. She commented: "It is possible for people with dementia to live a full and active life if they receive the necessary understanding and support from the community. With an increasingly ageing population, it is essential that communities understand what it means to live with dementia. Small changes to attitude and customer service can make a huge difference and will keep people with dementia and their carers engaged with their local shops, services, businesses and leisure facilities. It's great to see Alton participating in the Dementia Friendly High Street initiative."

Alton Mayor, Cllr Graham Hill, said: "I am very proud that so many of Alton's high street retailers both large and small have signed up to support the high street initiative. Making Alton a place where people with dementia, their families and carers can feel valued, safe and supported is hugely important, and I am delighted with the enthusiasm with which this initiative is being embraced within the town."

Cllr Liz Fairhurst, Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Pubic Health, said: "With nearly 20,000 people estimated to be living with dementia in the county now and the possibility that this number may double by 2030, our Dementia Friendly Hampshire programme has made significant progress in raising awareness of dementia and is seeing individuals and businesses embracing the need for more understanding of how to support people with the condition, putting Hampshire at the forefront of the Dementia Friendly Communities work nationally. I wish Alton every success with their dementia friendly initiative."

For more information on how to be a part of the Dementia Friendly Hampshire campaign, or to sign up to the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance, please call Andover Mind on 01264 332297

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