Hampshire County Council is delighted to be supporting the Alzheimer's Society and Public Health England's Dementia Friends campaign which is helping people to develop a better understanding of dementia. This complements the Authority's own significant initiative to create dementia friendly communities across the county where people with dementia can live a good life, and feel valued, safe and supported.
The Dementia Friendly Hampshire programme is already celebrating its first year of achievements with some 150 Hampshire businesses and services committing their support, four dementia friendly high streets up and running, 90 consultation and 130 awareness raising events held, the appointment of 11 Dementia Ambassadors, and the roll out of awareness training across all Hampshire libraries and now going into country parks.
Commenting on the success of the campaign to make Hampshire more dementia friendly, Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, said: "I am very proud that Hampshire has been at the forefront of the dementia friendly communities work nationally. Over the past year Dementia Friendly Hampshire has been working to create communities where people with dementia can live well and feel able to make a valued contribution. I would really like to encourage Hampshire residents and businesses to get involved as the more people who join us, the greater the difference we can collectively make to improving the quality of life for people with dementia, their families and carers."
Launched early in 2013 in partnership with one of the county's leading mental health and wellbeing charities, Andover Mind, the goal has been to create a number of recognised dementia friendly communities across the county where people with dementia can live a good life and continue to feel a valued part of their community.
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, the 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.
Reaching the business community is seen as an essential element of the Dementia Friendly Hampshire action plan. Hampshire now has four Dementia Friendly High Streets in Fareham, Lyndhurst, Fleet and Romsey, with more planned to roll out in Year Two of the programme. This means that a good proportion of retailers and service providers display a 'Dementia Friendly Hampshire' window sticker, signalling that staff have had awareness training and now have a good understanding of how to provide the best support and customer experience.
The Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance (HDAA) now boasts some 150 businesses and organisations who have signed up to a National Dementia Declaration and put internal action plans in place.
Looking ahead, Debra Ramchurn, Chief Executive Officer at Andover Mind said: "We have achieved a great deal over the past year but there is more to do in order to achieve our goal of making Dementia Friendly Hampshire self-sustaining. We will be unveiling more Dementia Friendly High Streets and hope to recruit at least a further 100 members to the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance. We will also be working to develop more peer support groups, particularly in hard to reach and traditionally excluded sectors of the community, as well as recruiting new Ambassadors and delivering consultation and awareness raising activities. We welcome volunteers at all levels to support our work."
Individuals can get involved with Dementia Friendly Hampshire by:
Businesses and service organisations can get involved by joining the Hampshire Action Alliance.