Margaret trains 150 “Dementia Friends” at annual NHS staff awards event

Margaret GradyDistrict Nurse Margaret Grundy delivered “Dementia Friends” training to over 150 people in one session at The Halton Stadium in Widnes as part of our Bridgewater staff awards for 2019.

Margaret works for the Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and the training session was organised as part of the Trust’s annual Staff Awards and AGM.

Margaret is an Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Champion – one of a growing army of volunteers who encourage others to learn a little bit about dementia, running information sessions in their community and inspiring others to help those living with dementia.

The session coincided with the week of World Alzheimer’s Day (21st Sept), and despite having previously delivered training to over 750 people – this session for colleagues at the Bridgewater NHS Trust’s AGM and Staff Awards – was by far the biggest session that Margaret has ever done.

The number of people attending was swelled by attendees from Cadent Gas, the Alzheimer’s Society and members of Widnes Vikings women’s rugby league team.

Margaret said: “Whether you attend a face-to-face Information Session or watch the online video, 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.”

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

Bridgewater staff were joined at the event by employees of Cadent, the local gas network, who have a long association with the Alzheimer’s Society and pride themselves on the promotion of Dementia Friends training amongst their staff.

Jenny Moten, Director of Cadent’s North West network, said: “Cadent is on a journey to become a dementia friendly utility so we can support our customers who are either living with dementia – we know that’s at least 89,000 people in the North West alone – or care for someone who is.

“We can’t take the dementia away, but we can help reduce the worry, particularly relating to gas in the home.

“Our three-year partnership with Alzheimer’s Society is a huge help in educating our teams and in giving practical support – like fitting free locking cooker valves – that keeps our customers safe and independent in their homes.

“It’s great to join with local organisations who are clearly on the same page – like Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Widnes Vikings – in raising awareness and expanding the growing ‘army’ of Dementia Friends.”

Alison Wakefield Dementia Friendly Communities Officer for Alzheimer’s Society in the North West said: “Margaret, and the staff at Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, have made a major stride in raising awareness about dementia by becoming Dementia Friends at their annual AGM. I was delighted to present the Community Engagement award at the event to support this.

“Dementia is the biggest health and social care crisis facing society today. Someone develops the condition every three minutes and too many are facing it alone. Dementia Friends is the biggest ever social action movement to change perceptions of dementia – one in every 30 people in England, Northern Ireland and Wales are now involved.

“Dementia affects people, their carers and families in different ways but one thing seems universal: people don’t always get the support or understanding they deserve. We need more organisations and individuals like Margaret, and her colleagues at Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, to help us break down the stigma surrounding the condition by joining our growing movement for change, today.”

Colin Scales, the Chief Executive at Bridgewater, said: “We’re very proud of Margaret’s commitment and the difference that she has no doubt made. It’s a remarkable achievement that she has trained so many people as Dementia Friends and we were delighted that Margaret was able to train 150 people from Bridgewater, as well as our guests from Cadent at our Staff Awards event.”

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