Kristy had been working with Robert Napier School on an intergenerational relationship project with the aim of, as Kristy says ‘reducing stigma surrounding young people and older people, building confidence and relationships of both groups and reducing isolation and dependency for older people’. As part of the project, students have been visiting a local care home and meeting some of the residents.
To support the project, Kristy ran an initial Dementia Friends Information Session for 14 of the students involved. After the Session, the students were committed to raising awareness and had the ambitious idea of making the entire school Dementia Friends! For Dementia Awareness Week 2015, the students organised a whole week of activity, including raising over £200 for Alzheimer’s Society. They also helped Kristy to organise the Dementia Friends Sessions. In one single day they ran four Sessions for students and staff, making an incredible 650 Dementia Friends in the process. Kristy said they were ‘so busy running the Sessions, we forgot to take any pictures!’
After the Dementia Friends Sessions, the students pledged to continue their involvement with Charing house, with one group pledging to visit the home and read to the residents. One pupil asked for extra information to take home and share with his family as his grandad has recently been diagnosed with dementia. The school has also pledged to continue making all new pupils Dementia Friends and to direct parents to the Dementia Friends website so that they can get involved.
Kristy works for the charity ‘Kissing It Better’ and she says that ‘as a charity we have pledged to make all the young people and volunteers we work with nationwide Dementia Friends. We will also encourage schools we work with to follow the example of Robert Napier and encourage all their students to become Dementia Friends.