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Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance – Building on Success

Ridley & Hall’s Adam Fletcher, in his role as Chair for Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance (KDAA) reflects upon  the first KDAA anniversary conference held at the Textile Centre in Huddersfield.

On Tuesday 2nd June, KDAA held their first anniversary conference titled, ‘Building on Success’. 14o delegates attended the event, from a diverse background of organisations, groups, businesses and individuals across Kirklees and West Yorkshire.

The day started with a dementia friends session for local dignitaries including the Mayor of Kirklees, Councillor Paul Kane, the CEO of Kirklees Council, Adrian Lithgo, Chief Executive of Kirklees Active Leisure, Alasdair Brown, local sports personalities and other members of leading organisations across the borough and West Yorkshire. The session was led by Simon Wallace, Regional Manager, Yorkshire & Humberside Dementia Action Alliance.  The aim of the session was to follow the approach taken by the UK government when David Cameron arranged for his Cabinet to attend a Dementia Friends Session in December 2014.

The Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about the condition.  Adam Fletcher commented, “We need to raise awareness and create more communities and businesses that are Dementia Friendly across Kirklees so that people affected by dementia feel understood and included.” The session created 15 new Dementia Friends.

KDAA Anniversary Conference 2015

Adam Fletcher with Kirklees Mayor, Councillor Paul Kane, and Age UK’s Hilary Thompson

An action-packed agenda included speakers Steph Booth, journalist, politician and current mayor of Todmorden, Samantha Jones, Safe Places Co-ordinator at Mencap, Mo Ali, District Prevention Manager at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Andrew Toft, from The Yorkshire Move Manager Ltd, and Simon Wallace.

Steph Booth spoke movingly about her role as carer for her husband, actor Tony Booth, who is living with dementia. Samantha Jones took the opportunity to relaunch the safe places scheme which has been extended to include vulnerable adults and those living with dementia. Mo Ali provided an insight into the brigade’s objective to reduce deaths of vulnerable adults and to enable those living with dementia to live longer in their own homes.

The conference recognised that the Alliance had not only achieved its objectives set for the first year but surpassed these considerably. 87 organisations and groups have submitted action plans and created over 500 Dementia Friends and 6 Dementia Friends Champions. Adam went on to add, “It has been truly amazing how the people and organisiations across Kirklees have embraced the work of the Alliance and, whilst we still have a lot to do in Kirklees to make it truly dementia friendly, significant progress has been made in the first year. If you are interested in joining the Alliance  or would like more information, please do not hesitate to get in contact.”

During the conference, a video produced by the Alzheimers Society was showcased. This is a moving insight of those living with dementia unsupported and how, with minor adjustments, it can become possible to live well with dementia within the community.

The team from Mencap relaunched their Safe Places scheme which has now been extended out to include vulnerable adults and those living with dementia and their carers.

The conference was brought to a close by an impromptu speech from the mayor supporting the work undertaken by the Alliance and encouraging the attendees to continue the Alliance’s work in raising awareness and creating a kinder Kirklees. Over 30 organisations were then presented with certificates acknowledging that they were working to become dementia friendly.

The team at Ridley & Hall were the one hundredth member to join  the regional alliance and supported the event. The Wills & Probate team are actively supporting those diagnosed with dementia and their carers on legal issues, including the provision of lasting powers of attorney and Wills.

Dementia Friendly Logo 2014_15



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