Trio's challenge to provide dementia awareness training to 7,000 women by 2020

PUBLISHED: 16:37 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 09:24 14 January 2019

Rockbeare and Cranbrook WI are the latest group to receive dementia awareness training from Heather. Picture: Rockbeare and Cranbrook WI

Rockbeare and Cranbrook WI are the latest group to receive dementia awareness training from Heather. Picture: Rockbeare and Cranbrook WI

Archant

A Honiton woman and two others have set themselves the ambitious task of training thousands of women in dementia awareness by 2020.

A Honiton woman and two others have set themselves the ambitious task of training thousands of women in dementia awareness by 2020.

Heather Penwarden, chair of Honiton Dementia Action Alliance, has teamed up with Carmen Luscombe, county chair of Devon Federation of Women’s Institutes (DFWI), and North Devon dementia champion for DFWI June Shepherd-Blandy, to complete the challenge.

The trio are already a year into the initiative, which has seen members from 100 WIs receive training to become what is known as a ‘Dementia Friend’.

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

It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition and to date more than two million Dementia Friends have been created nationwide.

Heather, who is the dementia ambassador for DFWI, is currently raising awareness in East Devon, Carmen in South Devon and June in North Devon, with the three sharing Mid Devon.

“With nearly 7,000 members in 206 institutes there are WIs in our 3 cities, most towns and many villages in Devon,” said Heather.

“These are groups for women living in the community, many who will know someone touched by dementia. We are offering Dementia Friends training to any WI in Devon who wishes to take it up and it is our hope that the majority of members will be dementia friends in time for our centenary in 2020.”

“There are over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK meaning one in three of us will know someone with dementia.

“As an organisation DFWI is in a unique position to play a part in supporting our members and the wider community to be more dementia aware and to take action on dementia.”

All members will be invited to a special annual meeting which in 2020 will be a celebration of the DFWI’s centenary year.

Heather said: “Because of our close links with dementia action alliances across the county we thought it would be a good promotion for dementia awareness by linking it with our centenary celebrations.”

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