dementia friendly townA CELEBRATION has been held to mark Middlesbrough officially becoming a Dementia Friendly Town.

Residents of the town living with dementia, carers and businesses which have undergone training to become dementia aware all came together for the occasion.

The Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough Project has been developed Cleveland Alzheimer’s Residential Centre Limited (Clevearc) in partnership with South Tees Clinical Commissioning Group.

The project was launched in November last year when people affected by dementia and their carers discussed how best to develop Middlesbrough as a dementia friendly community.

The initiatives aim was to ensure people across the town were able to help those with the condition lead active and fulfilling lives and confirmation has now been given by the Government and Alzheimer’s Society that Middlesbrough is a recognised Dementia Friendly Town.

At the celebration event at Jury’s Inn, 25 businesses from across the town were recognised as being dementia friendly and presented with certificates by Middlesbrough Mayor Dave Budd.

He said: “I am delighted to say we can officially say Middlesbrough is a Dementia Friendly Town. It is something which every one of us has had an ambition for, for quite some time.

“It is an area of life which touches all of us in some way at some point and we will genuinely try to help in as many ways as we can – when we have that mindset we can really change this place for many, many people.”

Among those present were Acklam couple Peter Elliot, 80, and wife Teresa, 78, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2006.

Peter said: “At the beginning there was hardly any support at all before we started getting a lot of help from the Memory Clinic. Now though more people are coming round to it.

“It’s marvellous when you have people who understand and make you feel welcome and know all the little things that make it easier.”

Also at the celebration were fellow Acklam couple Marge Harvey, 76, and husband Jimmy, 80, who was diagnosed eight years ago. Marge said: “It’s not something that is going to go away, it’s going to snowball so the more people that get involved the better it is for everyone all round. There are a lot of places now where you know you are going to be helped.”

One of the businesses that has taken part is Foodies, on Albert Road in the town centre. Its owner Chris Kelly said: “Lots of people have family members who are living with dementia. I do and I wanted to get a better awareness – mainly the training gives you a change of perception. I want everyone who comes in to feel welcome and want to come back.”

Iris Jenkins, Project Coordinator of Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough, said: “This is just the start and we would like as many people as possibly to join the working party – we would especially welcome people living with dementia and would urge anyone interested to get in touch with us.”