Exactly a year to the day since a representative from the Alzheimer’s Society came to Brecon to talk about how they set up a dementia friendly community in Plymouth, we are delighted to announce the launch of the Brecon Dementia Friendly Community initiative.
On Friday 20th June, Brecon Guildhall opened its doors to the public, inviting them to hear what progress has been made. Over sixty people, from a wide range of organisations, attended the launch including the local Member of Parliament and Assembly Member.
In the past 12 months, the initial steering group, supported by Brecon Town Council, have linked with carers, individuals with dementia, statutory and voluntary organizations, shops and businesses to create a not-for-profit organisation which has laid the foundations for making Brecon a Dementia Friendly Community.
Representatives from Dyfed-Powys Police Force, Mid and West Wales Fire service, Brecon Medical practice and Lloyds bank shared how they became involved, highlighting the impact and benefits to their organisation and encouraging others to join them in committing to take part in the Dementia Action Alliance.
Russell Stafford-Tolley, the group Secretary, spoke about the Dementia Friends scheme, explaining its importance in raising awareness and understanding.
Two members of Llanfaes Girl Guides then engagingly informed everyone how becoming Dementia Friends had motivated them in to taking action
"It was a very exciting day", said Rhiannon Davies, Chair of the group. "There was a huge amount of local interest and enthusiasm in the initiative and Amy Kitcher, a representative from the Alzheimer’s Society made the unexpected announcement that Brecon is to take the lead on piloting the official recognition process for dementia friendly communities in Wales.
"And there’s been more encouraging developments since then. At the recent Brecon Beacon National Park Authority AGM, the outgoing Chair, Julie James, put forward the pledge to make Brecon Beacons the first Dementia Friendly national park in the UK. This was unanimously agreed by all the Members, and an action plan is currently being drawn up.
"The number of people with dementia is increasing within Powys", Rhiannon emphasised. "Our mission is to create a social movement that mobilises all sections of the community. We want to challenge the myths and stigmas, increase awareness and understanding, support and promote social inclusion, and most importantly give a voice to people with dementia and their carers so their needs can be fully recognized and the appropriate support offered.
"The interest and support has been fantastic, and has highlighted just how caring a community Brecon is. We would love to hear from any individuals, community groups, organisations, shops and businesses that would like to get involved."