Dementia Friends scheme welcomes 1,000th supporter

Helen McMahon with other members of the trust.

Helen McMahon with other members of the trust.

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A scheme to help create more dementia-friendly communities across Coventry and Warwickshire has celebrated signing up its 1,000th supporter.

When the Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust - which provides mental health care across the area - launched its Dementia Friends campaign earlier this year, it set a milestone of recruiting a minimum of 1,000 Dementia Friends across the organisation before the end of 2016 - and in turn work towards becoming an officially-recognised Dementia Friendly Organisation.

And now the target has been reached, after Helen McMahon, technical trainer based at St Michael’s Hospital in Warwick, has been recognised as the 1,000th Dementia Friend.

Helen attended an information session run by Val Marshall, a learning and development officer at the trust, who has been trained as a Dementia Friend Champion.

Helen said: “I was aware of the campaign and took the opportunity. The session really opened my eyes to the challenges facing people with dementia, as well as their carers.

“I learned more about dementia and how my actions can help to create dementia-friendly communities. It helped me to understand how I can make a small contribution, which can have a huge impact on someone’s day. I would recommend everyone, young and old, to become a Dementia Friend.”

Since attending their information sessions, the staff have continued to be involved and turn their understanding into action, with many of them taking the campaign to their colleagues, family, friends and wider communities. A number have gone on to train as Dementia Friend Champions, resulting in many hundreds more being given the Dementia Friends information sessions.

Practical action could be getting in touch with someone they know with dementia, volunteering for an organisation that helpe people with the condition, telling others about the Dementia Friends initiative or campaigning for action to improve the lives of people with dementia.

To find out more, visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk