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HONITON:Support for dementia campaign

Thursday, 03 July 2014

A campaign to make Honiton a more ‘dementia-friendly’ town has won the support of councillors and the local business community. Volunteers are working together to initiate a ‘Dementia Action Alliance Group’ for Honiton, which would help to educate residents and improve understanding of the illness. Representatives from key organisations in the town will come together to steer the campaign, which aims to create a community of ‘dementia friends’ in the Honiton area. And both the town council and business chamber have already pledged their support. Reporting to councillors at a recent meeting, Dementia Friendly Community Champion Heather Penwarden, said: “Dementia is not pleasant and is never easy to talk about, but this is changing and more and more high-profile people are suffering with the illness or speaking out about their experiences. “We are looking to convert Honiton into a dementia-friendly community where we provide a safe and supporting environment for people living with dementia in their own communities. “We need to show a high level of public awareness and understanding that will help people retain their independence and have choice over their own lives.” One in three people will know someone who has some form of dementia – an illness that costs the UK economy £23billion a year. And at least 200 people in Honiton suffer with symptoms of memory loss. The process of transforming Honiton into a dementia-friendly town would take around 12 months, including a dementia awareness day and a public campaign to improve understanding. Mrs Penwarden added: “Our attitudes are changing and we live in a very different world. “This is not something we can sweep under the carpet – it can affect us all. “Awareness and attitude change can make an enormous difference. But this is not a task for one person or one organisation – it has to come from the whole community. “Anyone can become a dementia friend and any action can help.”

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