Dementia Friendly Larne is among the winners of the Northern Ireland Dementia Friendly Awards taking the award for Dementia Friendly Community of the Year.
This award, announced at the Europa Hotel on Tuesday, November 28, recognises villages, towns, and cities leading the way in taking action to ensure that people living with dementia are included in their community.
Dementia Friendly Larne was established to encourage the entire community to share part of the responsibility for ensuring that people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute to their community.
Originally a dementia support group meeting in the Prom Café, the group grew with the help of Alzheimer’s Society’s befriending service and now meets regularly with a large attendance.
Dementia Friendly Larne grew quickly out of this as Mid and East Antrim council identified an opportunity to build on this work.
In March 2017, they delivered their first Dementia Friendly Communities workshop which has led to many businesses recognising the importance of building a dementia friendly community, and that it is a priority for everyone.
There is a friendship group meeting held monthly where activities and befriending services are provided and there have been regular dementia friends workshops held for individuals and businesses in the area.
There are currently 98 dementia friends in Larne and 42 businesses proudly display the dementia friendly sign on their windows.
In their submission to the awards Dementia Friendly Larne wrote: “We aim to raise awareness and also to encourage the entire community to share in the responsibility for ensuring that people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute to their community. Dementia Friends are demonstrating how very simple changes can mean that people living with dementia are able to maintain their independence for longer.”
On winning their category, Alderman Gerardine Mulvenna, who is part of Dementia Friendly Larne, said: “I am so delighted! This is a result of teamwork. I may have been the driving force behind it but this is what happens when working in partnership with the council with Alzheimer’s Society and with the Northern Trust. It is really wonderful, and all for the benefit of people from Mid and East Antrim Borough, for the carers and also for people with dementia.”
Bernadine McCrory, Country Director (Northern Ireland) for Alzheimer’s Society, said: “It is amazing that Dementia Friendly Larne has won the Dementia Friendly Community of the Year award and it is a testament to their tremendous dementia friendly work. The level of nominations received this year was truly phenomenal and there were some exceptional stories heard at the awards ceremony. All the finalists and winners at the Dementia Friendly Awards have demonstrated how we can unite against dementia and support those affected by the condition.”