First steps taken to make Ottery a dementia friendly town

Roger Giles mayor of Ottery Town Council joined The King's School students and members of Ottery Hel

Roger Giles mayor of Ottery Town Council joined The King's School students and members of Ottery Help Scheme in a session learning how to be a dementia friend. Picture: Ottery Help Scheme - Credit: Archant

A scheme aimed at making Ottery a dementia friendly town has taken its training sessions into the community.

King's School students and staff, Ottery Library volunteers and the town mayor are the first to join Ottery Help Scheme's campaign.

Dementia Friends Champion Jane Haizelden, from the help scheme, led an hour-long information session on Wednesday, July 3, as part of its project to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding around the condition.

Alzheimer's Society's Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people's perceptions of dementia.

The programme's aim is to transform the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about the condition.

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The charity wants there to be four million Dementia Friends with the know-how to help people with dementia feel understood and included in their community.

Ottery Help Scheme's chief officer, Emily Lezzeri, said: "Ottery is a great place to live and work; we are looking forward to bringing together different sections of the community to participate in the Dementia Friends training sessions. Ottery is already a very friendly town; we're now aiming to give it 'Dementia Friendly' status."

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Councillor Roger Giles, mayor of Ottery said: "I am very pleased that Ottery St Mary Town Council helped Ottery Help Scheme achieve the funding for this vitally important project.

"I am delighted that it is now getting underway, and will benefit very many people in Ottery, and the surrounding areas.

"Dementia is something that touches all of us, and I am particularly pleased that King's students are involved in developing an awareness of it."

King's students Freddie Clarke, Jack Carpenter and George Durham said they felt more aware of the effects of the condition on people's lives.

The students said: "I've learnt that dementia isn't all about forgetting things and at the start I knew nothing about dementia, but now I feel I can help older people."

Ottery Help Scheme is a charity set up to support residents in times of illness, difficulty or life-changing circumstance.

It relies on volunteers to provide a number of services including befriending, bereavement and a memory cafe.

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