Our great friends milestone

I’m delighted to say that in the past few weeks we have passed a magnificent milestone in Doncaster.

More than 1,250 local people have now received training to become a Dementia Friend, which is a key driver towards our objective of becoming a dementia friendly borough.

Staff at Whitby's chip restaurant after doing Friends training

Staff at Whitby's chip restaurant after doing Friends training

The more that everyone knows about this growing disease the quicker we will be able to end the stigma and misunderstanding that surrounds it.

We’re well on our way to hitting our target of having 3,000 Dementia Friends in Doncaster by the end of March 2015, which will be our contribution to hitting the Prime Minister’s pledge of having one million ‘Friends’ across the country by the same date.

The chances are you will know someone who has dementia or is a carer for someone with dementia. Currently, 820,000 people in the country have the disease, including 4,000 Doncaster people. Managing dementia is one of our biggest challenges in the 21st century.

Today, I would like to make a special appeal to those of you who run a local business, or are an employee, to think about becoming a Dementia Friend. It’s easy, interesting and the training takes only about one hour and can be done in group sessions or online.

In the future, more and more people accessing businesses will have dementia, or care for someone with dementia, so you need to be prepared. Those people will increasingly look for services and products that are dementia friendly.

Organisations in Doncaster can sign up to the Dementia Pledge that gives employees a basic awareness of dementia by simple steps, like giving staff an explanatory leaflet or arranging a training session. All the information you need to get going is available at this website: https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/

Locally, the Doncaster Dementia Alliance - of which our CCG is an active member - is spreading the word and actively trying to get new recruits, with Dementia Friends training being provided by charities like Sue Ryder. The Yorkshire Wildlife Park, Whitby’s fish and chip restaurant, and Sprotbrough and Cusworth Parish Council are just some of the local organisations that have recently received the training. It’s a fantastic, worthwhile investment for organisations to make and is really good business.

At NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group we’ve been doing our bit to raise dementia awareness by producing our version of the Beatles hit With a Little Help From My Friends. You may remember that national celebrities produced their version to highlight last month’s Dementia Awareness Week. It’s a bit of fun with a serious message at the end, which hopefully will inspire a few more people to become Dementia Friends. Please have look - you’ll even see me playing my guitar!

Contact Nick on twitter @drnicktupper. Log onto www.thestar.co.uk/video to watch the video.