Brecon Beacons hope to become first ‘dementia-friendly’ National Park in UK

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After months of hard work Brecon Beacons National Park Authority is delighted to announce that it is the first UK National Park to be officially recognised as ‘Working towards becoming dementia-friendly’.

 

At the AGM in late June 2014, Members of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority unanimously agreed that it would aim to become the first Dementia Friendly National Park Authority in the UK. The serving Chairman at the time Mrs Julie James gave her pledge and commitment to take this forward.  In the months that followed Brecon Beacons National Park Authority became a member of the Brecon and Hay Dementia Supportive Community and part of the local Dementia Action Alliance.  In August 2014 the Alzheimer’s Society officially recognised Brecon as the first community in Wales to be ‘Working to become dementia-friendly’.

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Last month the National Park Authority provided members with the implementation plan, which incorporated staff awareness training and Rhiannon Davies, Chair of Brecon Dementia-Friendly Community informed the Authority that the National Park was now officially recognised as ‘Working towards becoming dementia-friendly’. Brecon and Hay Dementia Supportive Community are hoping that the enthusiasm of the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority will help inspire other businesses and organisations across the Brecon Beacons to become dementia-friendly.

 

Rhiannon Davies said of the initiative:  “This is a great achievement for everyone involved.  Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has shown its commitment from the very beginning, so it’s absolutely fitting that they have become one of the first organisations in Wales to be awarded this status.”

 

The dementia-friendly programme aims to improve inclusion and quality of life for people with dementia by bringing together individuals, groups, organisations and local businesses.  The backbone of National Park Authority’s commitment is to raise awareness and understanding about living with dementia through Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative. All current and future staff, as well as volunteers will take part in the Dementia Friends information sessions, run by local volunteer Dementia Friends Champions. Once the goals are achieved Brecon Beacons National Park Authority will act as a Champion and use its model to create a clear blueprint on how to become dementia-friendly which they will share, assist and support with the family of UK National Parks to do the same.  In Brecon, a pharmacist, police officers and mountain rescue staff are just a few of the members of the local community who are helping to make the town dementia-friendly.

 

Julie James, former Chairman of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority and driving force behind the initiative said:  “I am absolutely delighted that we are leading the way to become the first ‘dementia-friendly’ National Park in the UK.  This latest recognition endorses all the hard work and effort of our officers as we work towards making this National Park a better place for people with dementia. We hope that local businesses sign up and offer their support to the programme.”

 

Mrs Melanie Doel, Deputy Chairman of Brecon Beacons National Park Authority said:  “It is with great pride that I can commend the work of Cllr Paul Ashton, Mrs Julie James our former Chairman, Elizabeth Lewis our HR Officer and the late Huw Price, our Communities Officer for their partnership work with the local Dementia Alliance to progress our commitment to becoming dementia-friendly.  We are now proudly displaying the national recognised ‘Working to become dementia-friendly’ symbol.   We are continuing to work with key partnership organisations and tourism providers through Park Ambassadors and the Rural Alliance networks to promote the National Park as a dementia-friendly destination.  Our future vision is that the Brecon Beacons National Park will be the first National Park to be recognised nationally as dementia-friendly, and will then act as a flagship for best practice in dementia supportive communities.”

 

Sue Phelps, Director of Alzheimer’s Society in Wales said; “By 2015 there will be over 45,000 people living with dementia in Wales.  Individuals, organisations and businesses are embracing the need to understand how to support people with dementia so that they can remain independent and continue doing the things they enjoy.  We are delighted that the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has made significant progress in their ambition to become dementia-friendly and we hope this means more people affected by dementia will feel supported to enjoy the wonderful countryside of the Brecon Beacons.  I wish the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority every success with their aim to become the first Dementia Friendly National Park in the UK and hope that other National Park Authorities will follow in their footsteps.”

 

For more information on becoming part of the National Park dementia-friendly initiative, please contact Elizabeth Lewis on 01874 620 426 or email Elizabeth.lewis@breconbeacons.org

 


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