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Five new communities become friendlier places to live for people with dementia

Porthcawl, Kenfig Hill, Pyle, Cefn Cribwr and Cornelly have become the latest areas to be recognised as dementia-friendly communities in Bridgend County Borough.

More than 1,500 people from local businesses, shops, churches, schools and voluntary organisations have signed up to the Dementia Friendly scheme, which is designed to establish a network of communities where people who are living with dementia can experience respect, understanding and support.

Staff, volunteers and employees at participating premises throughout each of the communities have completed dementia friends awareness sessions to help them spot and support people who may have dementia, and will be displaying Dementia Friend badges and stickers.

Developed as a partnership between Bridgend County Borough Council, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board, BAVO and the Alzheimer’s Society, the project was embraced by local town and community councils. This new dementia friendly communities launch follows the success of a previous scheme set up in Maesteg town centre in 2016.

Statistics from Age UK estimate that up to 800,000 people are affected by dementia, but only 43 per cent are diagnosed with the condition

I’m delighted to see the Dementia Friendly initiative being adopted by further communities in Bridgend County Borough. This is all about providing greater understanding, tolerance and support, and helping people with dementia to remain in the homes and communities that they are familiar with for as long as possible.

It also helps to reduce social isolation and loneliness, and improves the health of people who are living with dementia.

Councillor Phil White, Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help.

Zoe Wallace, Head of Primary Care at ABMU Health Board, said: “We are delighted that more communities in Bridgend County Borough have undertaken awareness sessions to help people living with dementia. Their new knowledge will help people who have dementia live at home within their own community as long as possible, which is known to achieve positive outcomes for both physical and emotional health.”

BAVO’s Chief Executive Officer Heidi Bennett said: “Our awareness sessions form the biggest ever local initiative to create a better understanding of how dementia impacts on an individual. The project aims to transform the way we all think about dementia, and respond to people with the condition. Whether it’s staff serving in shops or cafés, queuing behind someone in a bank, travelling on the same bus – we can all make a difference by simply recognising people with dementia and first and foremost responding with support, patience, tolerance and courtesy.”

Businesses or organisations who would like to find out more about the dementia friendly awareness sessions can contact BAVO on 01656 810400 or contact the Alzheimer’s Society on 01656 647158.

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