Town council facilitates dementia-friendly event
22nd November 2019
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Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council is to facilitate an event for local businesses, residents and community groups who want to do more for local people living with dementia. 

In partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, the town council is holding an event on Wednesday 27 November at Mere Green Community Centre between 1pm and 3pm, as it takes its first steps in working towards Sutton Coldfield becoming a dementia-friendly community.

The Alzheimer’s Society defines a dementia-friendly community as a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported. 

In a dementia-friendly community, people are aware of and understand dementia, so that those with dementia can continue to live in the way they want to and in the community they choose. 

The Make Sutton Coldfield a Dementia-Friendly Community event will include a guest speaker, stories from those living with dementia and provide an opportunity to be part of a unique group of people working closely together to achieve Sutton Coldfield’s ambition of becoming dementia-friendly

To become a dementia-friendly community and before applying for dementia-friendly recognition, there are seven key criteria set out by the Alzheimer’s Society that must be met:

  1. Establishing a local group of stakeholders who want to play their part in improving the lives of people in Sutton Coldfield with dementia;
  2. Identify someone to drive the work locally to ensure Sutton Coldfield is working towards becoming dementia-friendly;
  3. Put a plan in place to raise awareness of dementia in key organisations and businesses within the community that support people with dementia;
  4. Develop a strong voice for people in Sutton Coldfield living with dementia, to ensure the focus is on the areas that people with dementia feel are the most important;
  5. Raise the profile of the progress to become a dementia-friendly community by holding events and other meetings and creating news stories;
  6. Decide upon the areas of focus locally and ensure all plans are centred around those areas;
  7. Ensure regular updates on progress are shared with the Sutton Coldfield community and that annual self-assessments are carried out. 

Alongside aiming to complete these steps, communities are recommended to work with people living with dementia to identify priorities and take action in key areas including arts, culture, leisure and recreation; businesses and shops; children, young people and students; community, voluntary, faith groups and organisations; emergency services; health and social care; housing and; transport.

This is what the collection of local stakeholders will work towards, once established.

Chief executive of Royal Sutton Coldfield Town Council, Olive O’Sullivan, said: “There’s already some great work going on across our town in supporting people with dementia, but there is much more that can be done and we’re keen to play a part in facilitating and enabling this to happen.

“As well as an opportunity for carers, those with dementia and community groups to come together, this event is also aimed at local businesses.

“There are so many simple but effective ways business owners and managers can be more dementia-friendly.”

Earlier this year, the Town Council agreed to become a dementia-friendly council and has since registered with the Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme with a member of staff now trained as a Dementia Friend Champion. 

Kat Horner, the West Midlands’ Dementia Friendly Communities Officer at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It’s important that everyone understands what it’s like to live with dementia, that some of the myths and stigma surrounding it are dispelled and that we do everything in our power to ensure those affected by the condition remain an inclusive and active part of our community.”

Those wishing to attend the event on Wednesday 27 November between 1pm and 3pm at Mere Green Community Centre, should email their name and any other details to community engagement officer caitlin.morgan@suttoncoldfieldtowncouncil.gov.uk or call 0121 663 1765

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