Gatwick Airport has been recognised for its ‘remarkable’ efforts to improve travel for people with dementia.
The airport was highlighted at the Alzheimer’s Society’s 2016 Dementia Friendly Awards.
Gatwick, together with the OCS Group, which provides the assistance and customer service staff at the airport, won the innovation category accolade for their efforts to make travel less stressful for people with dementia.
Nikki Barton, Gatwick head of terminals, said: “I’m absolutely overwhelmed and delighted that we’ve won the prize.
“A lot of people have worked really hard to make sure Gatwick recognises the needs of passengers with dementia, their families and carers.
“The systems we have put in place need everyone at the airport to be well trained, to be really thoughtful and understanding and we think we will deliver a great service that will get better and better.
Dan Tomlinson, Gatwick Terminals operations manager, said: “We’d like to think that, together with our OCS Group colleagues, we are making life easier for people with dementia when they come to Gatwick. We are a friendly airport and will do everything we can to make travel stress-free.”
There are 1,100 people living with dementia in Crawley and over 14,000 people living with dementia in West Sussex, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.
By 2021 there will be more than one million people living with dementia across the UK.
With myths and misunderstandings around dementia continuing to contribute to the stigma and isolation many people feel, the Alzheimer’s Society warns it has never been more vital for communities to rally together to make a difference to the lives of people with dementia.
Alzheimer’s Society’s chief executive, Jeremy Hughes, said: “Dementia is the biggest health and social care issue facing our society and there’s no question that it has a profound and devastating impact for many – but the actions of Gatwick and the OCS Group and others like them are helping to raise better awareness, break down stigma and make our communities more dementia-friendly.
“What makes our winners so remarkable is the way they use their imagination, energy and enthusiasm to inspire others. Gatwick and the OCS Group have gone that extra mile to make a bigger difference in their community for people with dementia and they will inspire others to follow their example in all walks of life.”
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