Southport’s ‘Dementia Friendly’ campaign was given a top-level launch this week by highly respected politician Shirley Williams.
The initiative, organised by the town’s Lib Dems, was officially endorsed by Baroness Williams at Fylde Road where local shops and businesses have been the pioneers in backing the new campaign.
“This is a wonderful, beneficial initiative for the community and I was delighted to be invited for its launch,” said Baroness Williams, who added: “ I hope it goes from strength to strength and that other communities take it up.”
She was accompanied be Southport MP John Pugh who declared: “ Our town has given a lead in the way the community deals with the condition of dementia. We’re very grateful to Baroness Williams for giving her time to help us get the campaign in motion.”
Sefton has one of the highest percentage of adults with dementia in the UK and Dr.Hilal Mulla, clinical lead in dementia at Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group, said:
“Alzheimer’s is much more than a disease. It’s something that affects large slices of society and must be tackled not just through the medical route but in every aspect of the condition and its effects. Personally, I’m delighted that Southport has taken a lead in this area.”
Cambridge Ward councillors Pat Keith and Sue McGuire have been prime organisers in developing the initiative with local shops and businesses.
Cllr. McGuire said: “For many people with dementia, the battle is not just about getting a diagnosis and support there’s a danger that people start to feel that they are the ‘property’ of health and social care when they really long to have control over their daily lives and the everyday things we all take for granted – such as shopping going out to eat mingling with people spending time with friends and family.”
“The training and the changes to practice that Fylde Road shops have undertaken are the first steps in pulling down barriers and enabling people to stay in control of their lives for longer periods.” explained Cllr.Pat Keith. “The businesses are committed to providing excellent customer service and individualised customer care.
“This won’t just help people with dementia but will benefit everyone who enters their establishments.”