Dementia Friends Champion Gina Awad tells us about the incredible amount of work she has been doing in the past year to make her area more dementia-friendly.
This time last year I was a Dementia Friends Champion, I still am, although things have progressed beyond belief. I had a vision in November 2014 to create a local Dementia Action Alliance, that vision is now a reality. Over 30 local organisations have committed to an action plan to implement change, support, and generally raise awareness working towards a Dementia Friendly Exeter.
People ask me “how have you achieved what you have?” My response is passion, determination, drive, oh and a dash of persistence, well a little more than a dash maybe!
My year has included a trek on the Great Wall of China raising funds for dementia; A local
community radio show ‘Living better with dementia’; the fortune to be selected as one of
twelve to a dementia training retreat scholarship in the USA, over 30 Dementia Friends
sessions, achieving now almost 800 friends. Recognised in the city and county for my
contribution to dementia and achieving a finalist place in the national Dementia Friendly
Awards. I have met some incredible people living with dementia and their families which
has been such a privilege.
My aspirations are ongoing and now with the assistance of a committed group to effect
change in the community, who knows where we will be this time next year!
If I could share one thing it would unequivocally be that passion can effect change and this
is what lies at the heart of my quest. Knowing that people living with a dementia and their
families are beginning to feel supported, valued, respected and truly included is in my
opinion a basic human right.
I proudly introduce the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance
Here’s a recent Dementia Friends Info Session I ran with Exeter City Council staff: