Northern Ireland’s first cohort of Dementia Champions have today been unveiled at graduation ceremony in Cookstown.
The 49 graduates are the first to emerge from a new programme rolling out specialist training to 300 people working across the statutory and independent sectors in health and social care in Northern Ireland.
The first round of graduations reflect the culmination of a five day one-to-one, hands-on, bespoke learning initiative as well as an ongoing virtual learning programme delivered via a specialist Dementia Training Team from within the North West Regional College.
Dementia costs the UK around £26.3bn per year with over 850,000 people (expected to rise to over 1 million by 2025) currently living with the condition and requiring a 670,000 carer workforce to support those suffering with the condition.
Ryan Williams, Director with Connected Health and Lead Co-ordinator for the project said: “The graduates today are dedicated and focused professionals who simply want to effect real change to the lives of people who are affected by dementia.
“The focus of the programme has been to provide knowledge, expertise and support which can be applied in a practical context to deliver maximum positive impact for dementia sufferers, family and the multiplicity of stakeholders involved in the management and treatment of this increasing health and social care challenge.”
Programme graduate, Nadine Magee, from the Southern Trust said: “Becoming a Dementia Champion has taught me so much and helped me to see life through the eyes of someone with dementia. I would love to see everyone in the healthcare sector have an opportunity to take part in this programme.”
Douglas Adams, CEO, Connected Health added: “The Dementia Champions Programme has been a cornerstone of a wider regional strategy.
"Improving Dementia Services in Northern Ireland was launched in November 2011 and is supported by Atlantic Philanthropies, the NIO and the Department of Health. The challenge posed by dementia is a key priority in Northern Ireland and we are proud to be delivering a programme which is at the heart of meeting the challenge across the entire health and social care system.”
If you are interested in becoming a Dementia Champion please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02871867620.