The North East’s biggest building society has worked with leading law firm Sintons to deliver a session to its colleagues in support of people with dementia and their families.
As part of Newcastle Building Society’s long-term backing for the work of The Alzheimer’s Society, it has been running ‘Dementia Friends’ awareness sessions for the past year across its branch network and in a range of external locations which are aimed at its colleagues, customers, local people and neighbouring businesses on the high street.
Led by Sheila Hodgson, branch support lead at Newcastle Building Society, and held during Dementia Awareness Week, the initiative has so far seen more than 1,500 people becoming Dementia Friends after receiving specialist training in more than 100 sessions.
Colleagues from across many different practice areas at Newcastle-based Sintons learnt more about dementia and how to provide appropriate support and care to individuals and families affected, at a time when the age profile of the UK is rising in tandem with diagnoses of the disease.
The session was delivered by Sheila at Sintons’ headquarters, The Cube, in Newcastle.
The Dementia Friends initiative aims to change the way people act, think and talk about dementia at a time when the age profile of the UK population is rising and the disease is becoming ever more common.
‘Dementia Friends’ have been trained at every level of Newcastle Building Society’s operations, including at its head offices and on its main board of directors, while every one of its 28 branches now includes at least one Dementia Friend within its team.
Stuart Fearn, head of customer contact at Newcastle Building Society, says: “Dementia is a disease that cuts across every part of society, and as well as ensuring our colleagues have the training they need to manage situations that might arise during their customer interactions, we also invite people living in the communities around our branches and neighbouring businesses such as Sintons to take part.
“The sessions are interactive, easy to follow and have great stories which help people gain a better understanding of dementia and the challenges that come with it, and the feedback we get from participants has always been very positive.
“We’re very pleased to have been able to share Sheila’s knowledge and expertise with the Sintons team and hope they will be able to put the information she shared to practical use in the future.”
Mark Quigley, managing partner of Sintons, said: “Dementia is, sadly, a disease which is becoming ever more common in our society, and as an inclusive law firm committed to delivering excellence in legal and personal service, we want to do all we can to ensure we are offering the highest of standards of support to those who need it by dedicated Dementia Friends within the business.
“Newcastle Building Society’s initiative is superb and has made a huge contribution in increasing awareness and enabling support to be provided by businesses like ours across the North East. We are delighted to have Dementia Friends within Sintons, and to lend our support to this superb programme, and thank Sheila and the team at Newcastle Building Society for working with us.”