I’m the Head of Volunteering Development at Alzheimer’s Society and I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has registered their interest in Dementia Friends.
There has been an astonishing response to the announcement of the initiative on 8 November. Over 5,000 of you registered your interest on the first day. That number keeps on rising; at the time of writing, we’ve almost reached the 10,000 mark! There are also 1,175 followers on Twitter (@dementiafriends), 1,279 Likes on Facebook, and the Dementia Friends film has been viewed an amazing 15,343 times.
And, as I’m sure you know, the Dementia Friends announcement got some great media coverage, including 170 national and regional TV mentions, 23 pieces of national and regional print coverage, and a diary piece from Lynda Bellingham, who narrated the Dementia Friends video, in Yours magazine.
The scale of this response shows that many, many of us are not only concerned about dementia, but want to know more about what we can do to make a difference for people living with dementia.
Here at Alzheimer’s Society, we’re testing all aspects of the initiative, preparing for its full launch early next year. We want to develop an exemplary and sustainable volunteering model that will allow us to create a network of a million Dementia Friends in communities across the land by 2015. And you can help us to do this. We’ll send you an update every couple of weeks, and we’ll ask for your opinions and ideas as we head towards the launch.
I’m responsible for the part of Alzheimer’s Society that’s developing training for Dementia Friends Champions, the volunteers who will be running awareness sessions to recruit Dementia Friends from their communities and networks. We’ll be keeping you posted about what we find out from the pilot training sessions.
In the meantime, please continue to tell your family and friends about Dementia Friends, and encourage them to get involved.
Head of Volunteering Development, Alzheimer’s Society