Action of the month

Dementia Friends Champions Sheila Goodall delivered a Session for her husband who put his learning to good use. Sheila tells us the full story:

‘I am a Dementia Friends Champion, and my husband attended my first Dementia Friends Information Session some time ago now. Yesterday he went to our local supermarket and when he came home he told me that he had had an encounter with a lady on the way to the newspaper counter.

He described the lady as very elegant and debonair looking, she clasped his elbow and called him Malcom and asked what he was doing. He explained he was buying a newspaper and she told him they had already got the papers. With that, another lady, whom he presumed was her carer, stepped in and apologised for what had happened.

My husband replied there was no need to apologise, we were just going to buy a paper. The other lady steered her away and the elegant lady told Malcom to stay where he was and she would pick him up on the way out.

My husband said that becoming a Dementia Friend had helped him react positively to this lady and shows that we can have more understanding and patient communities if more people become Dementia Friends.’

A whole school of Dementia Friends

Dementia Friends Champion Kristy Adams spent Dementia Awareness Week raising awareness and taking action on a big scale when she made an entire school Dementia Friends.

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.

Dementia Friends Champions: Ask your RSO

Ask your RSOEach month, one of our RSOs (Regional Support Officers) answer your Dementia Friends Champions questions. Daisy Robson, RSO for North East, answers this month’s question:

Dear RSO

What is a webinar and how do I sign up to it?

Dear Champion,

A ‘Webinar’ is essentially a seminar on the web! Our webinars are all one-hour presentations that we talk you through, and we love to get your involvement in them too – through polls, discussions or chat boxes. We send you a link to a website, and ask that you call a Freephone number. Lots of Champions can attend one webinar, so it is a great opportunity to share ideas and learn from each other’s experiences.

A list of all our upcoming webinars can be found in this newsletter, or here. To sign up to webinars (you can join as many as you like), you just need to email with a list of all the webinars you’d like to attend.

We will then email you instructions a few days before, which include a website to visit and a telephone number to join. The phone line is a conference call line where you can listen to the presenter and also un-mute your phone to ask any questions.


Dementia Friends Champions: Important Session Resource Update

Important information for Dementia Friends Champions:

To ensure the Dementia Friends initiative is giving out the most relevant and useful information, we are constantly looking to develop and improve our programme, by sharing best practice and responding to feedback given by people living with dementia and you, our Champions.

With this in mind, we have updated one of the Bingo/Broken Sentences statements to give practical tips about how best to communicate with people who are living with dementia. It’s important that you familiarise yourself with the changes.

Our colleagues in Northern Ireland, who run dementia awareness activities there, have had really positive responses to this statement so we wanted to draw from their experience and share this information across England and Wales too.

The new statement is: People with dementia can still communicate effectively.

As we have already discussed, some people with dementia can struggle with communication but there are lots of things we can do to help.

Q: When talking with someone with dementia, what do you think you could do to support them?

A: Possible examples:

• Reduce distractions – turn off loud TVs or move to a quieter area

• Speak at a slower pace – speak clearly and calmly, using shorter sentences

• Think about your body language – maintain eye contact and ensure your facial expression matches your message

• Use aids – you could use visual clues, like written words, pictures or objects

• Listen – give plenty of encouragement and, if needed, repeat back what you’ve understood to make sure it’s correct

Whatever you do, never talk about people with dementia as if they are not there or talk to them as you would to a child – people with dementia still deserve our respect.

If you have any questions about this change, please get in contact with your Regional Support Officer.

A light bulb moment

When a customer came in to speak to Francesca Hartley, Neighbourhood Coordinator for a housing association in Brighouse, she put what she had learnt at a Dementia Friends Session to good use. Francesca tells us her story:

‘After attending a Dementia Friends Information Session, I had a light bulb moment this morning.

‘A customer came in saying he had lost his key to his bungalow, this isn’t anything new. When the reception staff did some digging the tenant mentioned that he had no furniture in the bungalow and he thinks he was robbed and they locked the door on the way out.

‘I overheard the conversation so I asked the reception staff to look on our system to see if they had any alerts for vulnerabilities or next of kin. There was nothing on the system so we asked him for details to update our system. He couldn’t remember his daughter’s number or where she worked. We contacted the police for any details as I thought that something wasn’t stacking up. When we spoke to his daughter we found out the tenant has dementia.

‘We organised a lock change for later that day and we are keeping a key back in case this happens again!

‘If I hadn’t become a Dementia Friend I would never have thought that customer might be living with dementia. It definitely pays off being a Dementia Friend!’

Daisy’s 7 Step Guide to Making Dementia Friends Bunting

Step 1


Step 1) Go to, login to your Champions account and download the Bunting document from the Session Resources page




Step 2


Step 2) Print one copy of each letter and Dementia Friends logo. Remember, you can always make it longer by adding logos.




Step 3


Step 3) Cut out the bunting using a pair of scissors – please be careful not to chop off any fingers!





Step 4


Optional Step 4) Is the event outside? Do you want to re-use your bunting at another event? You may want to consider laminating it!





Step 5


Step 5) Make holes in the corners of the bunting using a hole punch so that you can hang it up.




Step 6



Step 6) Thread string or ribbon through the top of your bunting to join it together.






Step 7



Step 7) Ta Da!! Your bunting is ready to be used again and again!





Send us pics of you and your bunting via the Dementia Friends Facebook & Twitter pages!

Great ideas for delivering Info Sessions outdoors

Summer is here, the sun is shining (and we all know that that’s a rare occurrence) so let’s make the most of it and deliver our Dementia Friends Information Sessions outside. Here are a few ideas to get you started!


England’s love of festivals continues to grow.  With large crowds, this could be a perfect opportunity to spread understanding of dementia further.

Have a look in your local paper or local website for news of nearby festivals, fairs or fetes. You might be able to get a stand for free, or contact a local venue nearby and target the crowds.

Websites such as and are examples of websites where you can find out what is going on in your local area.


Move your Information Session outside to your nearby park. Bring blankets, perhaps some food and drink and you could have a picnic to make it more of an event.

If you’re planning a public Information Session please remember to check with your local council beforehand to make sure that it’s possible to hold it outside. They will be able to explain if there are any safety measures you need to take.


How about delivering an Information Session round the Campfire under the stars? Debbie Hewitt did just that when she delivered a Dementia Friends Information Sessions during a weekend camping with friends.

Debbie Hewitt delivered a Session whilst on a camping holiday

‘We all came together in a semi-circle in the middle of the grass areas, it was a nice warm day and we had drinks and nibbles. Despite the relaxed atmosphere, everyone took it seriously, asked questions and enjoyed the activities. The ‘who’s right’ activity in particular created a good debate.’


On holiday

Sun cream, check. Swimming costume, check. Dementia Friend’s bingo sheets…

Okay so Dementia Friends resources might not be a staple item to pack on holiday. However if you’re planning a trip with friends and have been promising an Information Session to them, why not? Have fun with the activities and pass on understanding at the same time.

Please remember that only people in England and Wales can be recognised as Dementia Friends. If you deliver an Information Session to a mixture of people from England and outside, not to worry! Just make sure that you only report back on the number of Dementia Friends who live in England and Wales.


Not only is this a great opportunity to deliver an Information Session, the BBQ food will be bound to draw some people in. As with parks, if you’re hosting a public BBQ please contact your local council for permission beforehand.

There may also be a local BBQ/event happening in your area which you could piggy back on.


Planning on a family trip to the beach? Bring your Dementia Friends resources with you and deliver an Information Session on the sand (or pebbles). You could buy some seaside rock to hand out as a bingo prize.

You could also contact local businesses beforehand and arrange an Information Session at the local café, amusements arcade or to the local lifeguards. They come in contact with many people, of which some will live with dementia. The information and understanding that you pass on will be invaluable in improving their customer service.

Street party

You might like to hold a small street party in your community and have a Dementia Friends stand and Information Session there. For more information on how to organise visit this website.

If you have any questions about delivering an Information Session to the places above please contact your RSO.

Have a great summer!


Dementia Friends Champions: Ask your RSO

Ask your RSOEach month, one of our RSOs (Regional Support Officers) answer your Dementia Friends Champions questions. Philippa Tree, RSO for London and North, answers this month’s question:

Dear RSO,

What do I need to consider when delivering Information Sessions outside?


Dear Champion,

Fantastic that you’ve decided to deliver an Information Session outside! I’ve put some key things to consider below. If you have any questions please do feel free to contact your Regional Support Officer.

Private or public?
If you’re hosting a private Information Session outside with friends and family, then simply make sure you have organised it as usual and you’re good to go.

If you’re hosting a public Information Session outside you may need to check with your local council. Depending on what you’re doing, whether it’s just an Information Session or whether you’re hosting an event or involving food, you may need to complete an application. For more information please visit your local council’s website.

Do I need Public Liability Insurance?
Public Liability Insurance covers the organisers of an event providing them with financial protection if they are held to blame for injury to a person or for loss or damage to property and sued.

There is no law that says you must buy insurance for a private voluntary or community event – but you might want to make sure you are covered in case something goes wrong.

Sometimes another body, perhaps a local council or the landowner will require you to have public liability insurance if you’re holding an event there. If this is the case, get in touch with them, sometimes signing a disclaimer will be adequate.

Remember all public Dementia Friends Information Sessions must have Public Liability Insurance. The best thing to do is to contact your local council to double check, and if you have any questions please give your RSO a call.

Plan for your audience

If you’re hosting an event with a Dementia Friends Information Session make sure you’re clear on how people will get there.

• Give details of public transport and parking
• Do you need any signs to make it easier to find?
• Is the venue accessible for wheelchair users and people with other disabilities?
• Are there any toilets nearby?

Check the weather

If you’re running a session outside it’s worth preparing for our traditional English rain. Have a plan B, whether it’s having a nearby sheltered area or bringing umbrellas!

Food and drink

If you’re expecting a lot of people and would like to make a fun day of it, why not provide food and refreshments.
Please consider
• Labelling your foods. Let people know what it is, and be wary of any possible allergies. For example you could make signs saying ‘contain nuts’.
• Ensure that you wash your hands before preparing or serving food
• Keep the food simple – for example cakes, sandwiches or food cooked straight from the BBQ.

The Information Session itself

Think about your audience. If you’re holding a large Information Session outside the Bingo activity might not be ideal.

Equally think about the space you have. Can everyone see and hear you?

For information about how to adapt your session, and what materials you can use please check out our other top tips on the blog.

Most importantly have fun!

Our information session can be adapted to any environment – enjoy it! Think outside of the box and please get in touch with your RSO if you have questions.


How to adapt your Info Session for the outdoors!

Your regular Dementia Friends Information Session can be run in the great outdoors – in your garden, at your local park, on the beach – with just a few adaptations. Let’s think about the different parts of the Session that will need to be altered:

Bingo vs. Broken sentences

These can both be played anywhere but make sure you consider:

  • Will participants be sitting or standing? (Camping chairs? Picnic blanket? Park bench?)
  • Do they need something to lean on? (Take along some clipboards or a fold-out table?)
  • Could you make them into a more active group activity by printing the resources larger? (Broken Sentences could be blown up in a big font and laminated so the sentences can be moved over the ground – talk to your RSO if you need help with this!)

Who’s Right vs. Cup of Tea:

Which of these will be more engaging for your group in the setting?

‘Who is Right’ works really well in open spaces – think before the Session where your starting/finishing line will be so that you are clear in your instructions.

Cup of Tea will be experienced by your group in a similar way to the Bingo, e.g. people will need to lean on something/may want to sit down, so think about varying the activities to give your participants a range of ways to interact with the session and keep them engaged.