In 2012 the Prime Minister launched his Challenge on Dementia outlining a set of commitments to improve the lives of people with dementia and carers. One of those commitments was to work to create dementia friendly communities across the UK.

Coventry and Warwickshire embraced this challenge and in January 2014 formed Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance – a partnership of local organisations and businesses signed up to make the region more dementia friendly.

All communities, organisations and businesses pledging to become dementia friendly in Coventry and Warwickshire are expected to work towards the following core principles:
• Enhanced awareness and understanding of dementia – for example, by offering basic awareness training to staff, sharing information about dementia via newsletters or referring to Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Portal website for more information on dementia and support services available locally (www.livingwellwithdementia.org)
• Aiming to provide a dementia friendly environment
• Developing positive attitudes towards the delivery of services to those most vulnerable in our society

There are currently 28 members of Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance, for example Warwickshire Fire and Rescue service, George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton or Shipston on Stour community, all contributing to making Warwickshire a dementia friendly county. The full list of member organisations can be seen on the national Dementia Action Alliance website:
Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance

As an Alliance, we have developed our local approach and guidance around creating dementia friendly communities in Warwickshire, and awareness raising resources. We are closely linking in with Public Health around development of healthy living campaigns and initiatives e.g. Pictures to Share books, Books on Prescription or Exercise on referral scheme for people with dementia.

We have developed dementia awareness training for staff and people working in the community – so far, more than 400 staff across Warwickshire have attended this course and improved their knowledge of dementia.

We have also produced a short video clip to make people aware of Warwickshire’s initiative and how people can become involved; this clip also explains how local businesses and organisations can become dementia friendly by showcasing examples of those that are already working towards this. Copies of this DVD can be obtained for free by any organisation or business signed up to the Alliance or viewed on the Dementia Friendly Communities page of the Living Well with Dementia Portal.

As part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Living Well with Dementia Partnership’s commitment to making Coventry and Warwickshire dementia friendly, the Council has set the ambitious target of encourage 8000 people to pledge their support to people with dementia, which will take the number of ‘dementia friends’ across the County to 10 000 (Warwickshire’s Dementia Friends Challenge 2015)

There will be a number of Dementia Friends sessions scheduled across Warwickshire, available to local residents, and people will be able to book a place through the Dementia Friends website in the next couple of weeks.

If you would like more details on how to sign up to become dementia friendly and/or if you wish to join the regional Dementia Action Alliance, please contact Coventry and Warwickshire Dementia Action Alliance on dementiapartnership@warwickshire.gov.uk

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