South Ribble has been named a ‘Dementia Friendly Community’ by the Alzheimer’s Society.
This important accolade means the borough is committed to ensuring people with dementia feel understood, valued and are able to contribute to their community.
It comes on the back of hard work from the council and the South Ribble Partnership, and the creation of the South Ribble Dementia Action Alliance (SRDAA) last year.
The alliance is made up of a number of organisations and individuals in the community, including Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service, Lancashire Police, Age Concern Central Lancashire, Home Instead, Preston Care and Repair, and the Alzheimer’s Society. Many South Ribble councillors also play an active role.
Since its creation a little over a year ago, the alliance has created lots of “dementia friends” – people in the community who are aware and appreciate what living with dementia actually means.
The group also holds regular dementia hubs at Leyland Market, has organised many awareness events, and is committed to developing and delivering its own dementia charter. At the Civic Centre offices on West Paddock, between January 22-26, the Council is hosting the first South Ribble Dementia week where many organisations will be joining to provide advice and support as well as raise awareness.
The South Ribble Dementia Action Alliance is chaired by Anna-Marie Knipe, of Birchall Blackburn Law.
Anna-Marie, who is based at the firm’s Leyland office, said: “I witness the effects of dementia on people and their families on a regular basis through the work I do. I know how important it is for communities to do more to help people living with dementia to feel active and engaged.
“I’m incredibly proud to be taking on this role and working with others to improve our community. The Alliance has made great strides these last 12 months and I’d like to thank the previous chair Maria Desmond for the massive contributions she made whilst chair.
“Our focus for the coming years will be to continue working to maintain our ‘dementia friendly’ accreditation.”
Councillor Peter Mullineaux, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: “It is vital that we give all the support we can to those in South Ribble that are living with dementia, or living with someone that has dementia.
“This accreditation from the Alzheimer’s Society shows what good work the South Ribble Partnership and the Dementia Action Alliance are doing in our communities to increase people’s awareness of dementia and try and see everything through different eyes, so that all people and all places are dementia friendly.”
Anne Heywood, 63, from Leyland, cared for her husband, who has Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia, before he was admitted to a nursing home. She understands the realities of what it’s like to live with dementia, and now supports the Dementia Action Alliance by attending the Dementia Hubs at Leyland Market and the Alliance meetings, where she gives her input and advice.
Anne said: “People need to know where to go to get help. I am able to share my experiences with them and point them in the right direction. I think it’s absolutely brilliant that we are now a dementia friendly borough – there is a real need to be, and we are happy to be able to help others in our community.”
Picture: Back row: (L-R) Maria Desmond, previous chair of the SRDAA; Anna-Marie Knipe, chair of the SRDAA; Howard Anthony, South Ribble Partnership Manager; South Ribble Councillor Sue Jones. Front row: (L-R) Anne Heywood – quoted in the article and a SRDAA supporter; Councillor Jacqui Mort, cabinet member for public health, safety and wellbeing at South Ribble Borough Council.