Daisy Robson is the Regional Support Officer (RSO) for the North East of England. Daisy is responsible for training and supporting all the volunteer Dementia Friends Champions in the region. We caught up with her to find out about her role and why she got involved with Dementia Friends,
What’s a typical day at work like for you?
There’s no such thing as a typical day for a Regional Support Officer! Some days I get up early (usually with a big yawn…), go to the train station (equipped with a strong coffee and a suitcase full of Dementia Friends goodies) and head off to somewhere in the North East of England delivering Dementia Friends Champions training to our wonderful volunteers.
Other days I’m office-based, which involves answering queries and promoting opportunities to Champs, such as the new young people resources we created which will help Champions to reach a younger generation with the Dementia Friends message. I also work with colleagues at the Alzheimer’s Society to develop the programme locally and – can you tell I’m a caffeine fan yet? – drinking lots of tea!
How did you come to be involved with Dementia Friends?
I volunteered as a Dementia Friends Champion in Leeds before I was an RSO. I helped to set up our local dementia-friendly community initiative and as part of that I got involved with Dementia Friends. I love getting our local shops and residents participating in Dementia Friends because you reach such a diverse and interesting group of people. The one thing we all have in common is a desire to help those living with dementia. I think it’s pretty special that Dementia Friends brings everyone together.
Can you tell us a little more about Dementia Friendly Communities?
Dementia Friendly Communities is a programme focussed on making communities supportive, inclusive and safe places for those living with dementia. It’s all about improving the quality of life of those living with dementia and Dementia Friends, of course, plays a really important part in that. You can find out loads more information on the programme and how to get involved by going to the Dementia Friendly Communities website.
Are there any Champions training sessions that you have delivered which stand out as being particularly memorable?
I ran a Champions training in York which was attended by an actress. The way she delivered the Bookcase analogy was amazing – I couldn’t believe the way she painted, by just using her voice and gestures, the image of the bookcase and communicated the impact dementia has on memory. It really stood out to me as I realised how powerful the Bookcase analogy is and how much I learn from my Champions!
How important is Dementia Friends for those living with Dementia?
Very!!! We have already made so much progress and there is huge momentum behind the movement. The best thing about Dementia Friends is that all it takes is for every person to do something, even something little, because actually those small changes in attitude or understanding have such a big impact on the lives of those affected by dementia.
To find out more information on becoming a Dementia Friend Champion and to get involved, head to the Dementia Friends website.