19 February 2019
The City of Newport campus at Coleg Gwent has become the first educational establishment in Wales to have a ‘Dementia Friendly’ campus.
The accolade given to the City of Newport campus lights the way for further expansion of awareness sessions in the region, run by Dementia Friends.
Dementia Friends – coordinated by Alzheimer’s Society – aims to create awareness of the condition to give employees, care givers and society in general the understanding and assurance to approach someone affected by dementia.
The scheme has been adopted by various public facilities in and around the city of Newport connected to Newport City Council, with the grand aim of making the city itself ‘Dementia Friendly’.
“I’m immensely proud”
Gary Handley, City of Newport Campus Director for Coleg Gwent, said: “I am immensely proud that the Newport City campus of Coleg Gwent has become the first in Wales to be given Dementia Friendly status. By championing dementia awareness among students, staff and our community partners, we have made great strides in reducing the stigma associated with dementia.
“Gaining this award would not have been possible without the dedication and expertise within the college and particularly Alice Butler-Bright from the Health and Social Care department but also countless care and welfare professionals in the wider Newport area. Dementia Friends is a fantastic initiative and I am sure knowledge and understanding of the disease will continue to develop immensely with the dedication of Newport City Council to becoming a Dementia Friendly city.”
Mr Handley also praised the work of the community as a whole, crediting the dedication of the local authority in improving levels of understanding.
About Dementia Friends
Dementia Friends has been championed in Newport by Bluebird Care, a UK-wide care provider. Director of the organisation in Gwent, Ray Morrison, says interacting with people suffering with dementia and offering help doesn’t have to be daunting and there are simple measures to ensure people with dementia feel safe in the community.
As a Dementia Friends Champion, Mr Morrison runs awareness sessions in a wide variety of public and private organisations and take up is increasing.
“Interest in the project has been very broad which is great, because Dementia is everywhere and anywhere. I have worked with the Intellectual Properties Office, Wales and West Utilities, Monmouthshire Building Society and the fire service. I’ve also worked with the Aneurin Bevan Health Board to help offer training to their new carers”, added Ray.
A key goal of the project is to increase the profile dementia management and support on the political agenda, spearheaded by work with Coleg Gwent with learning outcomes then expanded through the community.
Local AM support
Praising the efforts of Coleg Gwent, Jane Bryant AM for Newport West, added: “My Grandmother had dementia so I personally realise how important this accolade and the training of Dementia Friends is. It’s really important people learn about dementia at an early age because there will sadly be a time of their lives when they will have some experience with it if they haven’t already.”