"The Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge needs to continue and be sustainable because we can’t let down people with dementia and their carers."
That was the message from Plymouth University’s Ian Sherriff speaking at the Prime Minister’s Dementia Friendly Communities Champion Group in London yesterday.
The group is one of three set up as part of the national dementia challenge to explore how to deliver its key aims of creating dementia friendly communities, improving dementia research and improving health and care. Plymouth University is joined by other lead national organisations on the group which is co-chaired by Angela Rippon and Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive, Jeremy Hughes.
The group aims to create 20 dementia friendly communities across the UK by 2015 and Ian's lead involvement in the challenge builds on Plymouth’s inspirational success to date through the Plymouth Dementia Action Alliance, which the University set up with the support of Plymouth City Council and other community partners last year.
Ian said: “Plymouth is leading the way in its city-wide approach to raising awareness of dementia and this is something we should all be very proud of – it has put us on the national platform as an example of ‘how to do it right’.
“Not only do we have a very real opportunity here to make a difference nationally by sharing our best practice and inspiring other communities, but if we continue to build on our commitment to date, we could become one of the first ‘official’ dementia friendly communities in the UK.”
Ian has also this week been speaking before the Welsh Senate to share best practice in raising dementia awareness in Wales, with further plans to visit other cities around the UK to help inspire more dementia friendly communities across the country.
The Dementia Friendly Communities champion group is encouraging everyone to their say on the programme and give their views on how best to create dementia friendly communities at http://dementiachallenge.dh.gov.uk.