MEMBERS of the Ankerside Shopping Centre team have pledged their commitment to support vulnerable members of the community by becoming Dementia Friends.
The centre management team at the retail spot have taken part in the Tamworth Council-run Dementia Friends awareness-raising sessions, to enable them to offer appropriate assistance to shoppers with the condition as, and when required.
The awareness sessions are delivered by Dementia Champions and are available for free to all members of the public to provide opportunities. These include gaining further insight into dementia, the small ways in which people can help others and inspire others to take action to also become involved.
The Ankerside team learned five key messages from the Dementia Friends programme, which is led by the Alzheimer’s Society, as part of its work to create dementia-friendly communities, where there is more understanding and inclusivity for people who are affected by it.
Mark Burbridge, manager at Ankerside, explained that the shopping centre has a duty to be a leader for positive change in the community. “It’s important that all our visitors have an exemplary experience when they step through our doors,” said Mark. “The Ankerside team is dedicated to ensuring that we are continuously learning about how we can be of assistance to people with additional needs.
“We are in a brilliant position where our platform allows us to reach a wide audience and from which we can educate others on issues that might affect our families, friends, neighbours and colleagues.
“We are incredibly grateful to the Dementia Champions, Karen Clancy and Lee Bates, who delivered an excellent awareness session at Ankerside,” Mark continued. “We now have greater knowledge about helping Tamworth become even more of a dementia-friendly town and hope other businesses and individuals will also follow suit.”
Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance is currently in the process of changing from an action alliance to a Dementia Friendly Community. Its chairman, John Edwards, said: “As a dementia-friendly community, Tamworth is going all out to become a town focused on ensuring people with dementia and their carers feel safe, supported and involved in all aspects of community life – and Dementia Friends are a key part of that.
“Congratulations to the team at Ankerside Shopping Centre for being a part of the expanding dementia-friendly community.”
Tamworth Borough Council Dementia Friends Champion, Cllr Tina Clements, said: “Dementia Friends Champions have carried out dozens of awareness sessions to schools, businesses and community groups across the town and we now have almost 5,000 Dementia Friends in the town.
“Anyone can become a Dementia Friend by watching a short online video or attending an information session. It takes less than an hour and, in that time, people learn a bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia.
“They then turn that understanding into action, whether that’s simply spreading awareness further, fundraising or visiting someone with dementia,” said Tina. “We’re delighted to welcome the staff at Ankerside Shopping Centre to the growing team of Dementia Friends. Having that awareness will be incredibly beneficial to people living with dementia and their carers who are visiting the centre.”
To arrange a Dementia Friends session, please contact Tamworth Borough Council’s lead officer for Dementia Friendly Communities, Karen Clancy, on 01827 709569.