Making Mid and East Antrim a 'dementia friendly' borough

Antrim Coast Lions and trainer.
Antrim Coast Lions and trainer.

A campaign to make Mid and East Antrim a dementia-friendly borough has received “incredible” support from local businesses and residents.

Last March, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council launched training workshops for those living and working in the area.

Carnlough Town Hall.

Carnlough Town Hall.

They aimed to educate them of the day-to- day challenges faced by those living with dementia, and how they can be adequately supported.

As part of a programme of events, special sessions have been rolled out locally, with traders encouraged to get involved.

Citizens have been pledging their full support, turning out in large numbers to avail of the training and information opportunities.

Larne was identified as a starting point for the drive as the town has a dedicated Dementia Support Group, which meets on the last Tuesday of each month in the Prom Café.

Representatives from businesses in Glenarm.

Representatives from businesses in Glenarm.

Subsequent dementia workshops have taken place in Larne and Carnlough.

Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, who is MEA Council's representative on the Dementia Friendly Community northern steering group, said: “As part of our Community Plan in action, the training encourages the entire community to ensure people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute.

“This can help those affected to continue taking part in their normal activities and help them maintain their independence for longer.

“I am passionate and have been fully committed to making our community more dementia friendly.

“We continue to work on plans to connect dementia groups in other towns and villages throughout the borough and I thank all of those who have shown incredible support to date.

“I look forward to continuing this vital work in the weeks and months ahead and encourage anybody who is interested to get involved.

"Responding to Mid and East Antrim’s ageing population is a strategic priority within the borough’s Community Plan and working towards making our borough Dementia Friendly is key to that."

Earlier this year almost 100 people representing 42 Larne businesses took part in training to make the town a ‘dementia-friendly community’.

And at the beginning of November, around 50 people gathered for the Larne workshop, with a total of 36 people trained in Carnlough Town Hall.

Ald Mulvenna thanked the Antrim Coast Lions Club for all of their support and assistance at the Carnlough workshop.

To date, 190 people and more than 70 businesses have taken part in the dementia workshops.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is working with a number of charities to raise awareness and improve services for people with dementia.

These are aimed at providing support and friendship for those living with dementia, and their families.