Fleet Becomes North Hampshire’s First Dementia Friendly High Street

Wednesday 26th February saw Fleet officially launched as North Hampshire’s first Dementia Friendly High Street, with a day of activities, information and displays held at Hart Shopping Centre.

In attendance was Councillor Stephen Gorys, Chairman of Hart District Council, who officially launched the initiative by presenting Andy Gascoigne, 
the Manager at Boots in Fleet with the town’s first 
Dementia Friendly shop window sticker. 
All businesses who have signed up to the Dementia Friendly High Street scheme are able to display a sticker in their shop window - this will show people with dementia and their carers that staff in these organisations have been trained on dementia awareness and how to support customers with dementia.    

Andy Gascoigne, the Manager at Boots in Fleet>>>

Dementia Friendly Hampshire is an initiative launched by Hampshire County Council, the five NHS clinical commissioning groups and Andover Mind, one of the County’s leading mental health and wellbeing charities. Thanks to the initiative, Hampshire is proudly leading the way to become a Dementia Friendly Community. This means that there will be dementia friendly high-streets, shops, transport providers, leisure facilities, charities, support groups and organisations county-wide that have pledged to help create an inclusive environment. This is important because official figures state that by 2020 the number of people living with dementia in Hampshire is set to rise by 30 per cent to 24,000. The business community in particular is being called upon to get involved to enable people to live well with dementia. Businesses are being encouraged to sign up to the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance (HDAA). The HDAA is made up of organisations committed to making a positive difference to the quality of life for people with dementia and their carers. It’s free and easy to pledge support and, although it will deliver tangible business benefits, signing-up is unlikely to be a big commitment in terms of time and cost. Members of the HDAA publish their own bespoke action plans which may include actions such as: staff awareness training or conducting a review of environmental factors such as signage and seating and 
making appropriate changes.

Hart Shopping Centre and the many businesses in the busy shopping district have shown a proactive spirit, championing the campaign and becoming North Hampshire’s first Dementia Friendly High Street. Andy Gascoigne, Manager at Boots in Fleet has been a keen supporter of the campaign from the beginning. Speaking on the day of the launch he commented: 

            Andy Gascoigne with Cllr Steven Goys>>>

"Being a pharmacy we have had first-hand experience of customers with dementia, so making sure staff know how best to help and support people with the condition is something that I’m particularly passionate about."

He continued: "Although dementia can affect a range of ages, it predominantly affects the older generation. In Fleet we have an ageing population and as the diagnosis of dementia increases we want to be able to continue to support our customers. We want people with dementia to be able to carry on with their normal lives and that is something that Fleet as a community is now able to help achieve."

The list of businesses and organisations who have signed up to the Dementia Friendly High Street scheme in Fleet is extensive, it includes: Hart Shopping Centre, Boots, Sunrise Senior Living, Sentinel Housing, More Than Coffee, The Fleet Library, The Sweet Shop, Nat West Bank, Lloyds Bank, Haart Estate Agents, Argos, Costa Coffee, Gemini Hair Salon and many more.

Speaking at the launch, Councillor Stephen Gorys 
said: "We want the community in Fleet to be a place 
where people with dementia can feel both supported and independent, so becoming North Hampshire’s first Dementia Friendly High Street is a huge part of that and is something we’re very proud of. I’d like to thank all the partners involved in the project and all the organisations that have signed up and received training, it’s very encouraging to see that there are so many businesses participating in Fleet."

Dementia Friendly shop window sticker presented to staff at Nat West in Fleet >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>


Jenny Allcott from the leading mental health and well-being charity, Andover Mind and her team have worked closely with shopping centre staff to offer training in dementia awareness and encourage participation in the campaign. She commented: "It is possible for people with dementia to live a full and active life if they receive the necessary understanding and support from the community. With dementia being on the rise and with an increasingly ageing population, it is essential that communities understand what it means to live with dementia. Small changes to attitude and customer service can make a huge difference and will keep people with dementia and their carers engaged with their local shops, services, businesses and leisure facilities. Andover Mind is working in partnership with Hampshire County Council and the NHS to make Hampshire Dementia Friendly and is delighted that Fleet is the third pilot site for the Dementia Friendly High Street initiative."

Councillor Liz Fairhurst, Executive Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health at Hampshire County Council, said: "With around 18,500 people in Hampshire living with dementia, making communities better places to live for people with dementia is becoming increasingly important.

"We want to help people living with dementia to retain their independence for as long as possible and this can mean putting in place support to help them carry out everyday activities such as shopping. It is great to see so many organisations in Fleet signing up to be part of North Hampshire’s first Dementia friendly community."

For more information on how to be a part of the Dementia Friendly Hampshire Campaign, or to sign up to the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance, please call Andover Mind on 01264 332297 or visit www.andovermind.org.uk/hampshire-dementia-action-alliance.

Issued on behalf of Dementia Friendly Hampshire by Footprint Communications.

For media enquiries please contact Fran Weeks on Francesca@footprint-comms.co.uk or call 07876 365427.

Editors Notes:

 Only 47% of people with dementia feel part of their community with 23% saying they have stopped shopping and 16% no longer taking public transport. (Source: Alzheimer’s Society 2013)

 62% of people with dementia would like people working in banks, post offices and shops to have more of an understanding of dementia (Source: Alzheimer’s Society Dementia 2012 Report).

What is dementia and how does it affect people?

Nobody, anywhere in the world knows if they are going to get dementia. Yet it is the condition that people aged over 55 fear the most – more than cancer or heart disease. (Source: YouGov 2011). Whilst the condition is closely associated with age, it can also affect young people. There are many types of dementia and it affects everyone differently. Symptoms occur when the brain is damaged by certain diseases or by a series of small strokes. Often, this results in a reduction in, or loss of, memory and concentration, mood changes and problems with communication and reasoning. The result of this is that people with dementia often find everyday things we all take for granted, like enjoying hobbies, getting on a bus to go shopping or to the bank much more difficult. What’s more, dementia is progressive, which means that symptoms worsen over time. Research has also shown that while most people are sympathetic to those with dementia, they do not always feel comfortable, or able to engage, with them – avoidance is the dominant reaction in many people. (Source: The Alzheimer’s Society 2013)

Why is this important?

As increasing media coverage suggests, dementia is a fast growing issue and Hampshire is one county that is particularly affected. Over 800,000 people in the UK have dementia and this is set to rise to over a million over the next 7 years. In Hampshire alone there are around 18,500 people with dementia Here, a 30% increase in cases is expected over the same period.

What is a dementia friendly community?


It is one where the community at large is inclusive of people with dementia and understands how to help them. In action, this means creating a community which has the confidence to engage with people who have dementia and the skills to interact in a useful way – with understanding and patience. This approach has the potential to transform many lives. It will enable the greatest number of people to live a good life, as independently as possible as part of their community, and safe in the knowledge that they will receive understanding and support when needed.

So what’s happening in Hampshire?

Hampshire is proudly at the forefront of this national objective. Dementia Friendly Hampshire is a community focused response to supporting the growing number of people with dementia. All individuals and organisations, large and small - from shops, leisure companies, transport providers to you and me - have a part to play in helping people to live well with dementia.

Here’s how we’re doing this:

•Developing a Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance, where organisations sign up to the National Dementia Declaration and create bespoke action plans.

•Creating dementia friendly high streets, where people with dementia and their carers can feel safe and understood.

•Helping to set up peer support groups, where there are gaps, to enable community engagement at every level.

•Raising awareness throughout the county to help those affected by, or interested in, dementia to gain the knowledge they need to make a difference.

•Establishing a network of Dementia Ambassadors who support the campaign in many ways and inspire others to get involved.

Dementia Friendly Hampshire is an initiative launched by Hampshire County Council, the five NHS clinical commissioning groups and Andover Mind, one of the County’s leading mental health and wellbeing charities. Everyone is working to help people to live well with dementia.

What will be the outcome? What do you mean by ‘living well with dementia’?

If people around them are understanding, patient and supportive, many people with dementia will be able to live independently for longer, with an improved quality of life. They will feel positive, included, empowered and engaged in the daily life that we take for granted. With the Hampshire community's support, people with dementia can feel safe, confident and find their way around. They will be able to carry on doing the things they enjoy, and need, to do, keep in touch with friends and family and find people who feel the same. In short, to continue to feel valued and a part of the community.