Gillian has teamed up with the Alzheimer's Society to encourage more businesses to become Dementia Friends.
This joint campaign being run as part of Dementia Action Week 2021, was launched after Gillian wrote an open letter to businesses last week encouraging them to engage with the programme. At present, over 15,000 people are living with dementia in West Sussex, with this number set to rise to more than 21,000 by 2030.
In a recent video on the MP’s Facebook page, she spoke about the impact Dementia has had on her family and the reassurance schemes like these can give to those living with dementia and their family.
The Dementia Friends scheme helps people learn more about dementia and the small ways they can help, including how to support people living with Dementia in our community. The sector-specific short videos, are also full of brilliant tips to help local businesses be a more welcoming place for those with Dementia, which is vital as two-thirds of people with a diagnosis of dementia still live in the community and, unsurprisingly, most want to continue to live their life as they have been for as long as possible.
The campaign is already being supported by local groups such as the Sage House – Dementia Support, and Dementia Friendly Community groups in Chichester and Selsey. David from the Chichester and Bognor Positive Thinkers said “It’s great news Gillian is encouraging people to take part in a Dementia Friends session. Awareness of how to treat people with dementia appropriately is so important and the Dementia Friends sessions really do help with that.”
The campaign has also seen wider support from West Sussex County Council whose Chief Executive, Becky Shaw has asked her staff to complete the training. Similarly, Chichester District Council, the Chichester BID and The Great Sussex Way, which manage the areas tourism industry, also shared the MPs open letter through their own networks.
Gillian said, “This campaign is close to my heart, as Dementia has impacted several members of my family including both of my grandmothers before they passed away. Becoming a Dementia Friend is quick and easy and I encourage local businesses to take part. I am hugely grateful to the wonderful team at the local Alzheimers Society and our local support networks for all they’re doing, and everyone who is getting behind our campaign.”
Danielle Dunfield, CEO of the Great Sussex Way said, “We fully support Gillian’s work with the Alzheimer’s Society to make our local businesses as Dementia Friendly as possible. Doing so will ensure our area can be a safe, welcoming place for those living with Dementia to enjoy. We are encouraging the tourism industry right across the District to become Dementia Friends.”
Chair of the BID Derek Marsh said, “Chichester BID is pleased to support Dementia Action Week. Nearly a million people throughout the UK are living with dementia, including about thirteen hundred in the Chichester area. In many ways, we can all help improve the lives of people affected by dementia. Chichester BID is encouraging businesses in the city centre to take some simple steps to become dementia friendly and ensure the city is a safe and welcoming environment for all.”