Community Ranger aims to increase dementia awareness in Yeovil

A campaign to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding around dementia has got the support of South Somerset District Council and its Countryside Team.

Becky Russell, a Community Ranger for South Somerset District Council's Yeovil Country Park, is running a free 'Dementia Friends' Information Session on World Alzheimer's Day, Friday 21st September and is looking for local people to come along.

Alzheimer's Society's Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people's perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about the condition.

Dementia Friends is about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From telling friends about the Dementia Friends programme to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts. There are currently 850,000 people living with the condition in England.

The Dementia Friends Information Session will take place at Ninesprings Cafe at 2.00pm. Anyone wanting to attend the Dementia Friends Session should contact Becky Russell at South Somerset District Council on 01935 462462 or email countryside@southsomerset.gov.uk or book online at www.dementiafriends.org.uk. Booking is essential.

Having volunteered to be a Dementia Friends Champion, Becky said, "I signed up to be a Dementia Friends Champion because I want to help local people have a better understanding of those who are living with dementia in our local community. It's easy to get involved. I attended a training course, receive ongoing support and I'm now proud to be part of a growing network of people creating dementia friendly communities together.

"I have already delivered the awareness training to Countryside staff and our Ninesprings CafĂ© team to ensure that all the staff in our busy Parks and Cafes are aware of some the challenges facing people that suffer from dementia and can help make their days out be positive and welcoming experiences.  I can see the value in the programme in my own workplace and hope that I can help roll that out to many more people."

Councillor Sylvia Seal, Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Culture at South Somerset District Council said, "It's fantastic that a member of staff has volunteered to become a Dementia Friends Champion and work towards helping people understand more about the condition. The Information Session of World Alzheimer's Day supports the work of the Alzheimer's Society and we hope people come along to learn more and gets people talking about the condition that affects many people across England."

Jo Malyon, Dementia Friends Regional Support Officer at Alzheimer's Society said "Dementia touches the lives of millions of people across the country. Dementia Friends was launched to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding that means many people with the condition experience loneliness and social exclusion. It's all about learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From getting in touch with someone you know living with dementia to wearing your badge with pride, every action counts."

People can also get involved in Dementia Friends through an online video. Go to www.dementiafriends.org.uk to find out more.

Dementia Friends Poster