Gina Awad and Colin Bray from the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance were delighted to be at West Exe school recently, delivering Dementia Friends sessions to the Health & Social care students. This is part of their ongoing commitment to raising dementia awareness and taking action within the school and wider community.
Tim Rutherford, Head Teacher said: “West Exe is very proud to be an active member of the alliance and partnering in initiatives which raise action and awareness for dementia as a school. As part of this, we have appointed a Dementia Friends Champion, endeavoured to make our site more dementia friendly with recently introduced appropriate inclusive toilet signage and will continue to host Dementia Friends sessions for students and staff. I look forward to further establishing our involvement with the alliance and developing our action plan over the coming months."
Gina said: “West Exe is our first school member but as part of the Ted Wragg Trust I have been meeting with the other schools in the Trust with the assistance and introduction by Tim, Head of West Exe school.
"It’s been really wonderful to receive such support and the next few months will see new member schools join the alliance comprising; Exwick Heights Primary, Cranbrook Education campus, Isca Academy and St James. We have a number of actions in the pipeline and are looking forward to bringing these to life together."
The Ted Wragg Trust was established in 2010 with the aim to create an outstanding educational experience for all of Exeter’s children. It has now grown from a one school Trust to a five school Multi-Academy Trust (in 2017) responsible for the education of over 3000 children aged between 2-16.
Gina added: “It was endearing how we were welcomed into West Exe last week by the students, they were all so keen to learn more about dementia and it was important for us to acknowledge the impact on families and care partners. Having this knowledge is vital and one student asked 'how can I talk to someone who lives with dementia', which then generated a really useful discussion.
"Both classes personally put their hands up to thank us for coming in, it was from the heart, a true testament to the school. We hoped to have a local couple join us who live with dementia and were keen to be part of the session but unfortunately they were unable to attend on the day, however they intend to next time.”
Dementia Friends information sessions are an Alzheimer’s Society initiative that last an hour in which five key messages are shared through interaction, and they aspire to turn understanding into action. There are currently over 2.8 million Dementia Friends in the country with a goal to reach four million by 2020.
David Kernick, Chair of Governors for West Exe school said: "Dementia is likely to touch all our lives at what ever age we are. We are very pleased to be able to support the Dementia Alliance and enable our students to learn about and become more sensitive to this increasingly common problem. We look forward to working with Gina as she introduces this programme across the wider Exeter school community."
Dementia affects around 850,000 people in the UK of which over 40,000 live with young onset dementia and are under 65 years of age.
To learn more about the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance and/or join http://exeterdementia.org.uk/membership/how-to-join/