ANOTHER GREAT DEMENTIA ACTION WEEK IN BRECON!
Having been the first town in Wales to be awarded the status of a Dementia Friendly Community by the Alzheimer’s Society, Brecon continues to work towards improving the lives of its residents who are affected by dementia, and this was evident in its Dementia Action Week activities.
The main event was a Multi-Agency Information and Support day held in Brecon’s Guildhall, which was attended by Police, Ambulance and Fire Services, Mountain Rescue, PAVO, Age Cymru Powys, Credu, Alzheimer’s Society, DMiP and the soon to be opened Cultural Hub.
The day was given a rousing start when Brecon’s Town Crier, Councillor Marie Matthews, announced the event, in the loudest voice imaginable, with a brilliant dementia-themed poem she had written for the occasion!
Lots of people visited and, most importantly, some were able to access the help, support and information that they really need, either for themselves or for their loved ones. For some that was help filling in a form, for others it was specific information regarding sources of help, for a few it was simply an opportunity to talk to people who understand and empathise.
Pupils from Llanfaes and Priory Primary Schools and from Penmaes Specialist School were there to share their experiences of visiting local Care Homes and Arosfa Day Centre via Inter-Generational Projects, which they love being part of: they were also delighted to share their crafting expertise with any visitors who wished to join them! All of these schools, plus Llangors Primary, held dementia-themed assemblies during the week. Year 6 pupils in Llanfaes also made and sold cakes which raised £109 for the Brecon Area Dementia Friendly Community, whose activities during the week, including a bag- pack in Morrisons, raised almost £600!
The Town Crier introduced the afternoon from the podium in the Guildhall and thoroughly enjoyed wielding the gavel to demand order! The Mayor of Brecon, Councillor Ann Mathias, who had kindly agreed to present certificates to local businesses on behalf of the Brecon Business Dementia Alliance, was then welcomed. The certificates were in recognition of each business having made a real commitment to becoming Dementia Friendly, not simply by having Dementia Awareness sessions delivered to staff, but also for agreeing to their premises being reviewed in order to ensure that they are providing an accessible, inclusive and dementia friendly environment.
The businesses which received certificates were Nicholls, Brecon Car Sales, The Tea Emporium, Morrisons, The Clarence, Brecon Surgery and Brecon Job Centre; The Hours, Brecon Leisure Centre and NatWest Bank were also eligible but could not attend and their certificates will be delivered by hand. The Mayor was assisted by Frances Isaacs, a local resident who is living with dementia and who, accompanied by volunteers, had reviewed the businesses in question and provided constructive advice and guidance to support them in creating a dementia friendly environment, to which they are all committed. Frances hot-footed it to The Guildhall straight from the train, as her poem had been selected by Transport For London to be displayed as part of their showcasing of poetry by people living with dementia, and she’d made a guest appearance in Hampstead Station that morning!
It is hoped that other businesses in Brecon will be inspired by the commitment of their peers to join the Brecon Business Dementia Alliance, and to commit to providing accessible, inclusive, dementia friendly services. It is hugely reassuring to people living with dementia and their carers to know that when they visit a shop, bank, pub or café in town, they will be met by people who understand any difficulties they may face and who will offer them understanding and appropriate help and support. And those already involved say it’s very good for business!
For more information about the Brecon Area Dementia Friendly Community &/or its offshoot the Brecon Business Dementia Alliance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or checkout the website www.dementiafriendlybrecon.org.uk
And please remember, Small Actions Can and Do Make a Big Difference!