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An ambitious target set at the start of this year to encourage 10,000 people to become Dementia Friends has been reached in under 10 months.

Latest figures from the Alzheimer’s Society have today confirmed there are more than 10,300 Dementia Friends in Warwickshire.

This means there are more Dementia Friends than people with dementia in the county.

Cllr Les Caborn, Warwickshire County Council’s Portfolio Holder for Health, said: “I’m delighted that in well under a year we could achieve this ambitious target of supporting 10,000 people to become Dementia Friends.

“In Warwickshire, there are estimated to be over 7,500 people living with dementia and this is likely to rise to over 9,000 people with dementia in the County by 2021. The fact is that most people in Warwickshire will be affected in some way by dementia during their lifetimes.”

Dr John Linnane, Warwickshire County Council’s Director of Public Health who became a Dementia Friend in October 2014, added: “A great deal of hard work has gone into reaching this target in Warwickshire and I look forward to this momentum around dementia awareness to continue to build.

“Now that we have achieved our initial target of creating 10,000 Dementia Friends, we will continue to create more Dementia Friends across Warwickshire. Our local Dementia Friends will also contribute to the national target – to create four million Dementia Friends in England by 2020.

“Our Dementia Friends drive is part of wider work around increasing awareness and understanding of dementia as part of Warwickshire’s Living Well with Dementia strategy. This also includes broader work,which includes such as creating dementia friendly communities, and providing dementia awareness training to front line staff in Warwickshire.”

Cllr Maggie O’Rourke, the county council’s Chair of the Adults, Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee, added: “It’s great news that we have achieved the 10,000 target. Dementia Friends is an initiative led by the Alzheimer’s Society based on the principle that people with dementia can live well with a little help from other people. Becoming a Dementia Friend is about understanding a bit more about dementia and the small things that can help people with the condition. You don’t need to already know someone with dementia to become a Dementia Friend.”

In Warwickshire, according to latest estimates, there are 7,615 people living with dementia and this is likely to rise to over 9,000 people with dementia in the county by 2021. Most people in Warwickshire will be affected in some way by dementia during their lifetimes. (Delete as repeated from above)

Warwickshire County Council has worked with many partners and people in making 10,000 Dementia Friends possible, including all five district and borough councils, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Coventry and Warwickshire Primary Care Trust, South Warwickshire Foundation Trust, George Eliot Hospital, voluntary organisations and community groups, members of the Dementia Action Alliance, and the 20 Dementia Friends Champions in Warwickshire, who have been trained by the Alzheimer’s Society to deliver the one hour information sessions. (they received training from the Alzheimer’s Society to deliver the sessions)

To find out more about dementia visit http://www.livingwellwithdementia.org/

If you are not already a Dementia Friend and would like to become one you could attend the next session near you, or visit https://www.dementiafriends.org.uk/register-digital-friend and follow the online process.

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