To celebrate Coleraine’s commitment to becoming a Dementia Friendly Community a launch was held in the town last Tuesday.
The event was officially launched by the newmayor, councillor George Duddy, at the Council Chamber in Coleraine Town Hall together with partner organisations Alzheimer’s Society and Northern Health and Social Care Trust.
A dementia friendly community is where people with dementia are understood, respected, supported, and feel confident they can contribute to community life.
So far nearly 30 businesses and organisations in Coleraine have signed up to work to become dementia friendly, including; financial institutions, café’s, shops, opticians, taxi firms and Coleraine Borough Council.
Over the past nine months the organisations have invested staff time in attending dementia friendly community workshops to learn how to best communicate, relate and support people with dementia.
All pilot businesses have developed action plans and are proudly displaying the working to become dementia friendly logo - which illustrates their commitment.
The Dementia Community Roadshow vehicle was parked at the Town Hall in The Diamond and Alzheimer’s Society volunteers and local businesses staffed information stands in various locations in Coleraine town centre to answer any questions from the public and raise awareness of what a dementia friendly community is and how to get involved.
Currently there are over 19,400 people living with dementia in Northern Ireland and this figure is expected to rise to 25,000 by 2021
Heather Lundy, Dementia Friendly Communities Manager for Alzheimer’s Society, said: “I would like to thank all of the businesses in Coleraine who are working to become dementia friendly. All of the participating businesses have recognised that dementia is not just a health issue but rather that building dementia friendly communities is a priority for everyone. They have not asked why me but rather why not me and invested staff time to ensure they can continue to support valued customers and service-users who are living with dementia.”
Mayor of Coleraine , councillor George Duddy said:“It is fantastic to see so many businesses and organisations in Coleraine commit to making the Borough a place where people with dementia can feel supported and understood.
“Council is dedicated to working with the Alzheimer’s Society and Northern Health and Social Care Trust to bring about changes to improve the lives of dementia sufferers and their carers.
“I would encourage local businesses to join Council in its commitment to making Coleraine dementia friendly”.
Simon Colquhoun, Store Director of Moore’s of Coleraine, added: It is wonderful that Coleraine is Northern Ireland’s first dementia friendly community and that we are leading the way in the region.
“Being dementia friendly in its simplest of terms means caring for our customers.”