The Mall Blackburn has hosted Dementia Friends training for 28 members of its management, security and cleaning staff as part of its work with its charity of the year, Age UK Blackburn with Darwen.
Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.
Five sessions took place across two days, with all staff receiving a certificate and Dementia Friend badges.
Delivered by Blackburn with Darwen Council’s adult learning team and Age UK Blackburn with Darwen, Dementia Friends training is aimed at teaching people more about dementia and the small ways that they can help.
The Mall’s Marketing Manager, Laura Diffey, attended the course and found it very insightful. She said: “While I had a basic understanding of dementia, I found there was so much more to learn about the condition.
“For example, I didn’t know that people with dementia may have limited spacial awareness and they may have distorted vision.
“The course was very informative and will really help staff when they are out and about on The Mall.
“There was also a lot of information about small changes we can make in the centre to improve the experience for people with dementia, so we are looking into how we can implement these.
“On behalf of everyone that took part I would like to thank Lynette Banister and Mel Balderstone from Blackburn with Darwen Council’s adult learning team and Elaine Jennings from Age UK Blackburn with Darwen for organising and delivering this programme.”
Vickey Shepherd, CEO of Age UK Blackburn with Darwen, added: “It is great to see The Mall leading the way to support people living with dementia in Blackburn with Darwen, and is a big step towards becoming an Age Friendly borough. If other retailers would also like to understand more about the condition and train their staff, we would be delighted to facilitate this.”