Charity launches new pilot scheme that could see Dunmow become dementia friendly

Dunmow High Street. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO

Dunmow High Street. Picture: SAFFRON PHOTO - Credit: Archant

An Uttlesford charity is on a mission to make Dunmow a dementia friendly community.

The Council for Voluntary Services Uttlesford (CVSU) have developed a pilot scheme in the town to help businesses assist and support people with dementia.

Project leader Steve Shoesmith said: "The aim is to raise awareness of dementia and create a community where people with dementia are understood and respected and supported."

The first step of the project will see Steve visit shops and organisations in the town centre, inviting them to join the scheme.

Businesses wishing to get involved are required to have at least one member of their staff trained as a dementia friend, which will involve attending a free one-hour training session where they can learn about dementia and how they can help in practical ways.

Members will also be asked to create a short action plan, Steve said, adding: "One area where people can make some small changes is in their business premises. For example, objects that are shiny can cause people with dementia to mistake what they are seeing.

"I think it's about having signs clearly displayed as well. It's also practical things like supporting staff who are caring for people with dementia. One action might include appointing a dementia friend champion at your business. It's the small changes which can make a real difference to people with dementia and their carers."

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The scheme has been commissioned by the Uttlesford Dementia Action Alliance which will support any willing organisations, who can then attend alliance meetings.

Once you are a registered member you can also display a sign showing that an employee is working towards becoming a dementia friend.

"I think people who recognise that sign and are with someone who has dementia are more likely to use the business." Steve said.

CVSU supports, advises, develop and strengthens the voluntary sector in Uttlesford and provides representation at strategic level on behalf of the sector.

Starting this week, Steve will be visiting businesses in the town's centre, however if you would like to join the venture, you can reach Steve via e-mail at: