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Free Dementia Friends awareness sessions for Poole businesses

Borough of Poole is working in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society to deliver free dementia awareness sessions for local businesses.

There are more than 685,000 people in England living with dementia, a figure which is expected to rise to over two million by 2051. Even everyday tasks like visiting the high street can be confusing and frightening for people with dementia, something which the Dementia Friends awareness sessions work to address.

Dementia Friends logo

Staff from several businesses in Poole have already taken part in the free awareness sessions, with organisations including Barclays, Coles Miller, Specsavers and The Body Shop learning more about dementia and how best to help customers who may become confused whilst out shopping.

An estimated 22 million people in the UK have a family member or friend who has dementia, and YouGov figures suggest that 49% of the public are more likely to support a company if they know it supports people with dementia. Borough of Poole is now calling on more retailers and other businesses in the town to take part. Sessions last for just an hour, and can be delivered to large groups of staff or just one person, with trainers able to visit the business premises or arrange a suitable local venue. 

Cllr Chris Wilson, Borough of Poole’s Dementia Champion, said: “The Dementia Friends awareness sessions offer retailers and other businesses in Poole the chance to improve their customer service whilst also learning more about how to make this growing part of our community feel secure when out and about. We have had a great response from many high street shops and businesses whose staff have already benefitted from the sessions, and we’d encourage others to consider taking up the opportunity.” 

Ian Campbell from Coles Miller, said: “For us as a business it just made sense. Two-thirds of people with dementia live in the community, and they, their family and carers are our existing or potential customers. It’s made us more confident in dealing with issues that could arise, and we are providing better customer service as a result.”

Staff who attend an awareness session will receive a Dementia Friend pin badge, and stores where staff have been trained and who have signed an action plan can display the nationally-recognised forget-me-not symbol, to let customers with dementia know that they can trust the service they receive.

 If you are interested in arranging a session, or would like to help make Poole a Dementia Friendly town by becoming a Dementia Friend yourself, please contact Jan Evans on 07824 137781 or email jan.evans@pwbcollaborative.org.uk.

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