Support grows for Dementia Friendly Town bid

PUBLISHED: 13:00 19 June 2014

Dora Hargreaves and Heather Penwarden of Honiton Memory Cafe at their launch of 'Honiton as a dementia friendly town'. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref mhh 0237-21-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.midweekherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Dora Hargreaves and Heather Penwarden of Honiton Memory Cafe at their launch of 'Honiton as a dementia friendly town'. Photo by Terry Ife. Ref mhh 0237-21-14TI To order your copy of this photograph go to www.midweekherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

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A bid to turn Honiton into a dementia friendly town has won the backing of business leaders and local councillors.

Representatives from Honiton Town Council and Honiton and District Chamber of Commerce will join a steering group to look at the criteria for becoming a dementia friendly town.

Dementia Friend champion Heather Penwarden is spearheading the campaign and spoke about her plans last week to the council and chamber.

She said: “We live in a different world now and one that continues to change. Dementia is not something to sweep under the carpet. It is something that has the potential to affect us all.”

Heather, who is the founding chairman of Honiton Memory Cafe, wants the town and the local community to help ‘support people to live well with dementia in their own communities’ and get involved.

“This is not a task for one person or one single organisation,” she added. “It has to come from the community as a whole - working together to make a difference to people living with dementia.”

A Honiton Dementia Action Alliance will be formed to work towards becoming a dementia friendly town with representatives from key group and organisations in the community.

Heather said there are over 800,000 people living with dementia with many more yet to be diagnosed. This figure is expected to rise to over one million by 2025.

Dementia costs the UK economy £23billion a year - more than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined.

She has been busy training Dementia Friends volunteers, who encourage people to find out more about the condition and what it is like to live with dementia. Heather aims to create 200 Dementia Friends, which is an Alzheimer’s Society led initiative, and has so far reached 106.

Heather will be holding a dementia awareness session for the public on Tuesday, September 30. She has also been invited to run a training session for members of the chamber of commerce.

Individuals or local businesses interested in getting involved or having Dementia Friends training are urged to call Heather on 01404 45360 or email penwarden@btinternet.com

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