The pupils and staff of Billingshurst Primary School led the fight against dementia last week, clad in denim.
On Friday May 20, pupils were invited to come to school dressed in as much denim as possible and donate to an important cause. The day raised £468.14. Organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, the nationwide initiative ‘Denim for Dementia’ is part of Dementia Awareness Week (15-21 May 2016), which aims to offer support, raise awareness and fund future research.
With an estimated 850,000 people in the UK living with some form of dementia, the chances are many of us know someone either suffering from, or caring for loved ones with, dementia. Faced with such statistics, encouraging communities to talk about dementia is more important than ever. In March, Billingshurst Primary School was the first school to become part of the Horsham District Dementia Action Alliance, designed to inspire communities to be dementia friendly and promote the role of the Alzheimer’s Society in offering information and support. At the time, over 600 pupils committed to being Dementia Friends.
The first challenge, to dress in denim, was embraced enthusiastically by all pupils, with some interesting denim-on-denim combinations.
Helen Williamson, headteacher comments: “This initiative is an important community-wide effort to encourage a greater understanding of the challenges of living with dementia, which is a message we are keen to promote within the school. By openly talking about dementia children have the opportunity to ask questions which in turn promotes empathy, and incites action to help wherever possible. I have been very impressed with the way in which our pupils have addressed this issue and taken part in the fundraising.”
If you are interested in becoming a Dementia Friend or helping create more communities that are dementia friendly, go to www.dementiafriends.org.uk to find your nearest information session or to volunteer as a Dementia Friends Champion.