Pupils at The Royal School have become Dementia Friends as part of a pilot scheme to raise awareness of dementia with children and young people in Wolverhampton.
They took part in awareness-raising sessions held by Dementia Champion Karen Perry and Dementia Friend Ann Bickley, one of the many activities which were held in Wolverhampton last week to mark this year's Dementia Action Week.
By becoming Dementia Friends, people can find out more about the particular needs of people with dementia, and the sort of help and support they can provide to make their lives a little easier. Anyone can become a Dementia Friend by visiting www.dementiafriends.org.uk.
Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance launched the pilot programme earlier this year and eventually hopes to enable all schools and youth groups in the city, such as Scouts and Guides, to hold Dementia Friends sessions of their own.
Around 150 Year 3 and 4 pupils became Dementia Friends last week, and Primary Headteacher Mark Mitchell said: “Ensuring that children grow up being able to relate to society as a whole is a key component to our educational provision at The Royal School.
“Many families at the school will have personal experience of dealing with dementia and so we need to resource the children to appreciate the difficulties that it brings, to be confident to speak about it and to remove the stigma that can be associated with it.
“By working with the City of Wolverhampton Council and Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance as part of this partnership we hope that the children at our school will grow in their understanding and empathy.”
Karen said: “It was so heartening to see how insightful and kind the children are. We would love to deliver some more sessions especially in secondary schools so if you are interested please call Susan Eagle at the City of Wolverhampton Council on 01902 555344.”
Councillor Linda Leach, the City of Wolverhampton Council's Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: "Dementia affects nearly a million people in the UK, including around 3,600 residents in Wolverhampton, and so it is great to see that people of all ages are being given the opportunity to find out more about dementia – and more importantly, what they can do to improve the lives of people living with the condition."
For more information about the help and support available for people living with dementia in Wolverhampton, please visit www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/dementia.
Wolverhampton was officially granted Dementia Friendly Community status by the Alzheimer's Society in December 2017 in recognition of the efforts being made to improve services for people living with dementia, and their families and carers. Meanwhile, Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance was the winner in the Dementia Friendly Community of the Year city or county category at last year’s Alzheimer’s Society's Dementia Friendly Awards.
Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance comprises a wide range of organisations including retailers, businesses, health and the emergency services, charities, religious groups and education providers which are working together to improve services for people living with dementia. For details, please visit www.dementiaaction.org.uk.