Hale & Co Drybrook pledges to be a dementia friendly retailer
The Forest of Dean Dementia Action Alliance is encouraging local businesses to take advantage of free dementia awareness sessions so they can improve the shopping experiences of customers with dementia.
Dementia Friendly Community Enablers have been contacting local businesses on behalf of the Alliance to arrange free dementia awareness sessions in the workplace for management and employees.
One of the first larger employers to welcome the dementia awareness training was Hale & Co of Drybrook, who recognised the importance of the training and the benefits for their staff and customers. The builders’ merchants were keen to get involved and all 56 members of staff took part in the training led by Roger Pickett, one of the Council’s Dementia Friendly Community Enablers.
In a significant gesture of further support, Hale & Co. have sponsored a bespoke mobile gazebo that will enable the Alliance to spread its message throughout the local area by engaging with the public at events around the district.
Jake Hale, Director and General Manager of Hale & Co. said: “We’ve been operating as a family firm since 1830, and the support of the local community has always been integral to our business. We’re an independent company that likes to look after our customers, some of which have traded with us for years and we feel it’s important to give something back to the community to show that we really value their support.
“We want to provide the best service possible to our customers and we’ve made an important commitment by signing up to the Forest of Dean Dementia Action Alliance. Several members of staff have also put themselves forward as Community Dementia Links. We hope that by going further and sponsoring the promotional cabin we will give the Alliance a real boost to its worthwhile activities.”
In more recent weeks, other large employers such as Jewson and Lucozade, Ribena, Suntory have registered their interest in taking up the opportunity of the free dementia awareness training to create dementia friendly workplaces for their staff and customers.
Andy Morgan-Watts, a Dementia Champion for the Forest of Dean said: “We are extremely proud of the work that the five Dementia Friendly Community Enablers have been carrying out with local businesses and we’ve had excellent responses from the retailers themselves.
“Most people with dementia want to be able to continue to carry out normal activities like shopping for as long as possible, independently, with or without their families or carers. On the flip side we’re aware that that Forest of Dean businesses want to provide great customer service, which includes improving the retail experience for people with dementia. Through our free training our Enablers are providing local businesses with the skills to help people to continue to shop locally and have the choice and control over their day-to-day lives.
“The training also helps members of staff who may have a friend or relative who has dementia to understand the small changes that they can make to support their loved one and to enable them to continue to live in their own home and feel part of the local community.
“With the new branded gazebo sponsored by Hale & Co, members of the Alliance will now be able to attend events across the district and provide more people with information and support about dementia.”
Cllr Alan Grant, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing added: “It’s great to see local businesses getting involved in such an important topic. It shows that employers take dementia seriously and are willing to make changes to ensure they can offer the best service possible to their customers.”
The Alliance is looking to engage with more local businesses and is urging others to get involved. For more information about how to become a dementia friendly business contact Lena Maller, Forest of Dean District Council, Community Engagement Team on 01594 812609 or email Lena.Maller@fdean.gov.uk
An Alzheimer’s Society study found that out of the 850,000 people living in the UK who suffer from dementia, 80% said that shopping was their favourite activity. Despite this 25% of those surveyed who have been diagnosed with dementia have stated they have given up shopping by themselves. This is due to having anxieties finding their way around stores, paying for items and staff misunderstanding their condition. 63% of the people surveyed didn’t think that shops were doing enough to help people with dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society has produced a practical guide on ‘Becoming a dementia-friendly retailer.
A Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) grant has meant that the Forest of Dean District Council has been able to employ the Dementia Community Enablers for a year as outreach workers, to build on and extend the dementia friendly work in the local community.