Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 16.07.23From insulating cavity walls to protecting patient’s cannula s, it’s all in a day’s work for Warm Zones staff. Based in North Shields, the energy efficiency champions have pledged to be more dementia aware and they’re encouraging their supply chain members to do likewise.

The kind hearted team, who are more at home ensuring that people aren’t left cold in their homes, have asked some of their contractors to sign up to become a Dementia Friend. The scheme is an Alzheimer’s Society initiative to help people develop an understanding of dementia and turn it into action to support customers and employees who are affected by the condition.

Jill Delf, Operations Manager for Warm Zones is on a double mission to help people living with dementia by supporting the Friend’s initiative and by helping her husband Ian raise much needed funds for the Calendar Lads Challenge. The challenge involves a number of nurses from Cramlington’s Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital supporting Dementia Friends by carrying out events such as walking from Berwick Infirmary to Cramlington’s Specialist Emergency Care..

“Everyday tasks that we often take for granted can be daunting for people living with this awful condition. They often avoid shopping or visiting public places, as they can feel anxious about the situations that they might face,” said Jill.

“To help, we are encouraging all of our staff and contractors to become Dementia Friends so that we’re able to provide understanding and help to those affected by the condition. “

As well as raising funds, Jill and her team have also been knitting making Twiddle Muffs for the Cramlington Hospital. The muffs are used to cover cannulas to stop patients with advanced dementia pulling them out. Each one is individually decorated and has a series of buttons, hoops or soft toys stitched into the fabric for patients to play with and distract them from their cannula. Jill is aiming to provide 100 Twiddle Muffs to local hospitals and is already more than half way there.  Charge nurses Craig Leathard and Stu Leddy from the Emergency department in Cramlington have been the driving force behind the Calendar lads and are delighted with the support from Warm Zone staff and customers for what feels like a unique chance for people from all walks of life to raise awareness of dementia in our community. https//www.justgiving.com/CalendarLads2016

Dementia Friends was launched in 2013 and is the biggest ever campaign to change society’s perceptions of dementia. 850,000 people have dementia in England and the number of people developing the disease is increasing annually.

“By taking part as a Dementia Friend, we can learn a little bit about what it’s like to live with dementia and turn that understanding into action. In our case at Warm Zone’s, this could be helping someone understand their energy bill or sign posting them to appropriate medical facilities. We’re a community based organisation and anything we can do to help those people who need our help can only be a good thing,” said Jill