Wednesday, 17 September 2014

MPs backing Rossendale dementia friendly community

I am delighted to give my full support to Dementia Friendly Rossendale – this is a great initiative which will raise awareness of the issue and support those who are suffering. I recently attended an information session at Rossendale Youth Zone and I would encourage others to engage and support the ‘dementia friendly’ campaign.

Over a 1,000 people in Hyndburn suffer from dementia. For a liong time I was the carer of grandmother who I saw at first hand suffer from the illness.

Dementia Friendly News Release

Two local MPs have given their support to a new community support initiative which aims to enhance the lives of people living with dementia in Rossendale.

Jake Berry MP (Rossendale and Darwen) and Graham Jones MP (Hyndburn) are supporting ‘Dementia Friendly Rossendale’ – an initiative set up to address the issues surrounding living with and caring for residents with dementia.

This community and volunteer driven programme is supported by NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Lancashire County Council Public Health, the main focus of ‘Dementia Friendly Rossendale’ is to raise awareness of this devastating illness.

Both MPs recently attended a Dementia Friends information session at Rossendale Youth Zone where they along with a group of young people and staff from the zone had the chance to learn more about the impact of the condition.

The sessions are coordinated by Alzheimer’s Society and delivered by “Champion” volunteers. Each event allows people to learn a bit more about what it is like to live with dementia and then asks them to turn their new found understanding into action. For example this could be helping someone to find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia on social media.

The young people at the Youth Zone recorded a short video of the MPs giving their individual message of support for ‘Dementia Friendly Rossendale’ – to be aired at a series of community roadshow events throughout the valley in the coming weeks.

The roadshow events will provide the community with an opportunity to learn more about how to identify, help and support residents that are affected.

People with dementia and their carers often have to deal with a negative attitude and stigma towards the condition from those they encounter on a day-to-day basis.

This only serves to further increase the difficulties which these individuals living with dementia face in their local community. Many people do not understand or know enough about dementia.

Community volunteer, Brian Topping is leading the initiative as Chair of the ‘Dementia Friendly Rossendale’ project: “We are very thankful to Jake Berry and Graham Jones for their support and time as well as everyone involved with Rossendale Youth Zone for allowing us to visit their fantastic facility.

“We launched the initiative back in July and are making great progress towards our aims. We have brought together representatives from all aspects of the local community to create a steering group which recently met for the first time. The local knowledge and experience of the group will guide and govern our work as we move forward with the initiative.

“However, it’s the engagement we want to create with the community which will provide the real value. We will have a number of aims but primarily we want to raise awareness of dementia and inspire people to support those living with the condition and their carers”

Dr Tom Mackenzie, Clinical Lead for the Rossendale Locality at NHS East Lancashire CCG, said: “The work in Rossendale led by Brian Topping and supported by the CCG is really exciting. I have no doubt that it will help to raise awareness of the condition and help create a Dementia Friendly Community. Bringing together a steering group which provides a broad representation of the local community is very important. A whole community togetherness is essential to ensure people living with dementia can live well.

He added: “The most common signs of early stages of dementia are memory loss and the loss of practical abilities, which can lead to withdrawal from work and social activities. If you think these problems are affecting your daily life or the life of someone you know then you should let your GP know or encourage them to talk to theirs.’’

More details of the community roadshow events will be available soon.

For further information please contact the media team at NHS Midlands and Lancashire CSU on 01772 214213.