Wolverhampton has once more been recognised as a dementia friendly city – demonstrating that organisations are working together to make people living with the condition feel better understood, respected and supported.

The Alzheimer's Society granted Wolverhampton Dementia Friendly Community Status for the third year running after recognising the work taking place to improve services for people living with dementia, and their families and carers.

It defines a Dementia Friendly Community as one where people living with dementia feel included and involved, have choice and control over their daily lives and are supported to contribute to the local community. It is also a place where other people are aware of dementia and understand the needs of people living with the condition. 

Wolverhampton was also named Dementia Friendly Community of the Year at the Alzheimer’s Society's Dementia Friendly Awards in 2018.

Jon Crockett, Chair of Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance, a partnership of dozens of local organisations which are working to become more dementia friendly, said: "This recognises the hard work and commitment of all the organisations, communities and individuals who have worked so hard over the last 12 months to help support those living with dementia, their carers and families. 

"Our members recognise that everyone from banks and supermarkets to the local corner shop and hairdresser share a responsibility for ensuring that people with dementia feel understood, valued and able to contribute to the community.

"Wolverhampton has for some years been at the forefront of developing and delivering dementia friendly communities. We have done much, but there is still much more that we can and must do to make Wolverhampton a Dementia Friendly City we can all be proud of."

Councillor Linda Leach, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, added: "We and our partners are determined to do all we can to improve the lives of people living with dementia, and the lives of their families and carers, by making Wolverhampton as dementia-friendly as possible, and so it is very pleasing that the Alzheimer's Society has once again recognised us as a Dementia Friendly Community.

"We have only been able to achieve this thanks to the hard work and help and support of individuals and local organisations. I would encourage other organisations who wish to improve the help and support they can offer to people living with dementia to become a member of the Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance so that, together, we can become even more dementia friendly.”

Over the last 12 months, members of the Dementia Action Alliance focused on the key themes of transport, young people and leisure. As part of this, all operators within the West Midlands Bus Alliance have been encouraged to deliver dementia awareness training to drivers and other customer-facing staff. The council's Meals on Wheels staff have become Dementia Friends and the training is being rolled out to Ring and Ride staff. The Alliance is also seeking to create a dementia friendly area within the city's new railway station.

Dementia Friends sessions have been delivered to pupils at staff at a number of local schools by Dementia Friends Champions Karen Perry and Jools Farrell including St Michael's Catholic Primary, Stowheath Primary, Loxdale Primary, St Paul's C of E Primary, St Anthony's Catholic Primary and The Royal School, as well as City of Wolverhampton College, and to Tettenhall Cubs and Wolverhampton Fire Cadets.

Youngsters are also being encouraged to become Dementia Friendly Young People's Champions, with three students at three different schools already taking on the role, while the Royal School has been involved in an intergenerational event with residents from Wolverhampton Homes and West Midlands Fire Service.

The launch of new dementia friendly cafes sponsored by fbc Manby Bowdler at the Grand Theatre have also been a massive success, with demand such that extra cafes are now being held on a regular basis. 

Meanwhile, Wolverhampton's Joint Dementia Strategy for 2019–2024 was launched last August. It places an emphasis on increasing early diagnosis to ensure early access to treatment and services, the development of a new integrated offer to enable targeted specialist care and support in people’s homes and in residential care, and the work that needs to be done to identify gaps in existing provisions commissioning intentions.

Kat Horner, Dementia Friendly Communities Officer West Midlands with Alzheimer's Society, said: "Wolverhampton has retained its status primarily because of the range of partners and organisations which are involved in this important work; there's a real sense of the city working together, and pulling in partners from all sectors to encourage organisations to make changes big and small which can support people living with dementia.

"The city has also been involved in some really innovative activities which have involved people affected by dementia in the work they are doing, including supporting the BBC Dementia Choir, while this summer the Grand Theatre will be hosting a dementia-friendly performance of Million Dollar Quartet on top of hosting its very successful dementia friendly cafes."

For more information about the help and support available locally around dementia, please visit Dementia.

People who are worried about dementia can also contact the Alzheimer's Society for information and support either via the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 1122 or by visiting Alzheimer's Society.

For more details of Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance, please contact Susan Eagle from the City of Wolverhampton Council, on 01902 555344 or via susan.eagle@wolverhampton.gov.uk, or visit Dementia Action Alliance (DAA).