Crawley’s work to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia has received international praise.
The news was shared during a presentation to members of the West Sussex health and wellbeing board about the Dementia Friendly Crawley project, on Thursday (October 11).
Carrie Burton and Vicky Wise, of Crawley Borough Council, along with Southgate GP Dr Laura Hill, gave an overview of the work carried out by the project, which was launched in 2013.
They mentioned that, not only had the project been featured in newspapers in Japan, but one of the town’s dementia workers had given a talk at a conference in Denmark.
The team also played host to a delegation of 17 experts from the Copenhagen equivalent of the health and wellbeing board, who were keen to learn about the work being carried out.
Ms Burton told the meeting: “One of the things that blew them away was when we told them that every bus driver who drives a Metrobus across Crawley actually goes to dementia friendly training.
“So if you get on that bus and you happen to be confused you won’t be sat there for two hours going round and round on your route. They have learned how to intervene in that situation.”
The meeting was also told that the number of people over 65 now receiving a dementia diagnosis and being able to access the help they needed had risen.
Ms Burton said: “There was a big chunk of our population who weren’t even accessing the right level of care and support for them and their family.
“With a lot of engagement and reducing the stigma and raising the profile we’ve been able to achieve this.”
The meeting was told that 2,000 people had been trained to be dementia friends since 2013.
When asked why other parts of West Sussex weren’t as dementia friendly as Crawley, the meeting was told that progress was being made in Bognor, Worthing, Horsham and East Grinstead.
Ms Burton said: “It needs somebody passionate within the community to have the time and energy to put in to galvanise that community response.
“That’s what we found so successful here in starting it and keeping it going and building it.
“It was investment in that one passionate person who could then lead it.”
For more information about Dementia Friendly Crawley and the Crawley Dementia Alliance call 01293 585317, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.crawley.gov.uk