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'Champion' dementia friends

Event honours those who improve the lives of people with the condition

Charlie Masters

Charlie Masters


07964 444701

'Champion' dementia friends

The West Berkshire branch of the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) held a Dementia Friends ‘championship’ to celebrate its most dedicated associates on Monday.

The alliance works to enhance the lives of people living with dementia across the district.

It currently counts among its ranks 3,900 ‘friends’, who organise and engage with its public-facing activities.

The championship was hosted by Gracewell of Newbury care home.

Among those attending was West Berkshire Council vice-chairman Clive Hooker and deputy mayor of Newbury Billy Drummond.

Organisations and individuals recognised for their work with the alliance were honoured at the event.

In total, awards were given to 27 ‘champions’. Among these was NatWest community banker Christine McElhill.

Mrs McElhill said: “Attending last year’s conference not only highlighted the issues that people living with dementia face, but also made me very aware of what we, as an organisation, could do to make things better.

“I believe our endeavours are making a real difference to our customers and Dementia Friends Information Sessions are now an integral part of the local induction programme for all new staff.”

Sue Butterworth, a programme support officer on West Berkshire Council healthy communities body, said: “2019 was an amazing year for our DAA.

“The success of our annual conference really acted as a catalyst and so many individuals and organisations have become engaged with activities and endeavours to improve the lives of those living with dementia in West Berkshire.

“In addition to many youth organisations, businesses, churches and voluntary organisations, 16 West Berkshire schools have expressed an interest in hosting Dementia Friends Information Sessions for their pupils.

“This high level of interest gives us confidence that our target is achievable and we are excited by the difference that it will make to those living with dementia and their families.”

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