MOVES to make Wellington a dementia-friendly destination for individuals living with the condition are afoot, thanks to a fresh commitment from the town council.
Taunton-based charity Reminiscence Learning is urging every business to help raise awareness of the illness and rethink their operations – a pledge Wellington Town Council has backed.
It is a next initiative from the charity, which has successfully put young pupils at Wellesley Park Primary School in touch with elderly residents at Oaktree and Popham Court Care Homes in Wellington through the Archie scarecrow project.
Founder Fiona Mahoney said: “We’re really excited about the whole project because we do feel that there’s a real community spirit in Wellington.
“Children in Wellington have already learnt about dementia through our intergenerational work, which is great, because they are the workforce for the future.
“But we have been struggling to get businesses working with us, and we feel there is a lot that can be done.”
To aid the process, Reminiscence Learning has fashioned a simple ten-step guide to dementia for businesses using the letters in ‘Wellington’.
The guide includes pointers such as:
- Encourage conversation, however repetitive or confusing it may appear to you,
- Take your time to listen, and
- Orientate your customers by providing suitable and clear signage.
Wellington Town Council awarded the charity £1,650 earlier this month, along with £504.76 from Wellington’s Waitrose to roll out Reminiscence’s Archie project at a second care home and Wellington school, and get a vascular dementia project underway.
Fiona says Rockwell Green Primary School and Camelot House at Chelston are keen to get involved.
Reflecting on the council’s dementia drive, Mayor Dave Mitton said: “What we want to do is encourage organisations within Wellington to be more dementia-aware, and businesses in particular to be more dementia friendly.
“That might involve awareness-raising within organisations, as well as staff training, which is essential.”
The council is also looking at how services interact within the town to see what can be done to make Wellington more accessible.
Mr Mitton added: “This is not just a phrase – we want to actually see practical forward movement on this.”