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Wigan up and running ahead of G8 Summit on dementia
Thursday 12th December, 2013

The growing social challenge of dementia will be among topics discussed by world leaders at this week’s G8 Summit on dementia, but work to tackle this issue is already underway in Wigan Borough.

Wigan Council is working with residents and organisations in Hindley and Scholes to make their communities Dementia Friendly, with plans to launch a further DFC initiative in Leigh in early 2014 well underway.

A Dementia Friendly Community is a city, town or village where people with dementia are understood, respected and supported, and can be confident they can contribute to community life. People will be aware of and understand dementia, and people with dementia will feel included and involved, and have choice over their day-to-day lives.

Wigan Borough’s first Dementia Friendly Community initiative launched in Hindley in early 2013 and was funded by the NHS Innovation Fund. A second DFC, funded by Nesta’s Creative Councils programme, is now up and running in Scholes. Both initiatives saw residents and organisations take part in a series of informal consultation events organised by the council, to discuss the dementia services they needed. These culminated in a Dragons’ Den-style event where the allocation of the funding was determined by a public vote.

Cllr Keith Cunliffe, Wigan Council portfolio holder for adults and social care, said: “We know now that dementia is fast becoming the biggest health and social care challenge of this generation. It is important that we start preparing now to enable our local communities to support people living with the condition to live well so it is good news that the social aspects of the challenge are being discussed at the Summit.

“More than 3,000 people in Wigan Borough are currently living with dementia, although many more may be but haven’t had a formal diagnosis. This number will rise so we need to enable people to continue to live in their own homes while being able to engage safely and confidently in their community.

“The Dementia Friendly Community work we have been undertaking with people in parts of Wigan Borough has seen a new way of engaging with our residents and organisations taking part. Now some of the first initiatives are successfully up and running we are seeing the benefits for everyone involved and I am looking forward to extending this approach as we launch the next initiative in Leigh in 2014.”

The G8 Summit on Dementia takes place on 11th December in London. Speakers include Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, Dr Margaret Chan, Director General of the World health Organisation, and Yves Leterme, Deputy Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operations and Development (OECD). More information can be found at http://dementiachallenge.dh.gov.uk/2013/12/09/programme-for-g8-dementia-summit/

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