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Raising awareness of dementia to help local retailers

The Horsham Dementia Friendly Communities Group, which includes representatives from Horsham District Council, West Sussex County Council, Alzheimer’s Society, and Rosedale Care Home, are taking to the streets of Horsham Town Centre on 6 November to raise awareness of dementia amongst retailers.
As part of a six month programme, the team will visit local shops, hairdressers, restaurants, banks and pubs to explain why it is important to become aware of the needs of people living with dementia and to highlight how they can make small changes to better accommodate their customers.
Local retailers will be invited to attend one hour Dementia Friends information sessions at The Barn, Horsham Park on either Wednesday 21 November at 8.45am or Thursday 22 November at 5.45pm.
Retailers will also be asked to consider physical environment changes to things such as lighting, surfaces and shop fittings as well as changing their behaviours; being more patient and giving people more time.
Commenting on the awareness building programme, Cabinet Member for Community and Wellbeing, Cllr Tricia Youtan, said: “Dementia is one of the greatest challenges we face as a community and it isn’t going to go away.
“What I think is really encouraging about this programme is that retailers and customer service providers only need to make relatively small changes to aspects of their customer service and the environment they work in to make a really big difference to anyone living with dementia.
“I am delighted that our local retailers are getting this vital support to become more dementia friendly, enabling those with dementia, their families and carers to feel more welcome and included in our local shopping environment.”
The Horsham Dementia Friendly Communities Group will host further high street visits to retailers in Horsham during January and March 2019.
Additionally, up to six Dementia Friends information sessions will take place to which both those working in customer service and members of the general public will be invited.
At the end of the six month programme Horsham DFC group will recognise the achievements of the local retailers, who have taken part, by issuing them with dementia friendly display stickers for their outlets.
Successful Dementia Friends information sessions have already been held in Billingshurst and Pulborough and there are plans to focus on other areas of the District.
If you would like more information on how to make your community more dementia friendly, you can contact Horsham District Council on 01403 215191 or Alzheimer’s Society on 01403 276649.

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