The Southampton Junior Neighbourhood Wardens have been learning about dementia to support residents in their local areas.
The ‘Dementia Friends’ session, run by the Alzheimer’s Society and presented by local volunteer Dementia Friends Champion Val Down, focused on teaching the group of 30 Juniors about dementia and how they can support their family, neighbours and loved ones. The Juniors were then presented with a Dementia Friends badge, to wear to show their support.
There are more than 2,500 people living with dementia in Southampton. Dementia Friends is about helping communities to better understand dementia and the small things residents can do that can make a difference to neighbours and community members living with the condition. From helping someone find the right bus to spreading the word about dementia, it can help make the local community a better place to live.
Councillor Satvir Kaur Cabinet Member for Homes and Culture said: “It is great that our Junior Neighbourhood Wardens are becoming Dementia Friends, which in turn supports our local community and makes our city a better place to live — it is so important we play our part in reducing stigma and making residents feel confident, understood and supported.”
Councillor David Shields, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing, added: “Southampton City Council supports the city’s progress towards becoming a Dementia Friendly City through great educational activities like this one. I’d like to encourage more residents to sign up for a Dementia Friends session and become a Dementia Friends Champion.”
Ellie Marcus, Dementia Friends Regional Support Officer at the Alzheimer’s Society said: “It’s great to hear that the Junior Neighbourhood Wardens have become Dementia Friends. Less than half of us think we know enough about dementia. Dementia Friends isn’t about creating experts, it’s about helping people understand a little bit more about what it’s like to live with the condition and then turn that understanding into action — anyone of any age can be a Dementia Friend. Dementia Friends is about giving people an understanding of dementia and the small things they can do that can make a difference to people living with dementia. From getting in touch with someone you know living with dementia to wearing your badge with pride, every action counts.”
The Junior Neighbourhood Wardens scheme is a council-run not for profit community project working with over 270 children across southampton aged seven to 12 on local projects such as gardening, graffiti removal, litter picking, charity fundraising, and befriending and combatting loneliness locally. The wardens are supported to develop a sense of pride and respect in their local neighbourhood and to promote a positive image of children in the community. The Juniors work alongside the council’s Neighbourhood Wardens and other council services to help improve their local area.
Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition. For more information visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk