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Burnham and charities at University for Dementia Action Week

Friday 25 May 2018

GREATER Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and charity bosses visited the University of Salford’s Dementia Hub this week to find out more about the work being done to help people with dementia live better lives.

The Mayor visited the centre on Wednesday May 23 alongside leading figures from the Alzheimer’s Society, Alzheimer’s Research UK and Dementia UK. The Hub, which opened last year, is committed to enhancing the lives of those living with dementia and has a unique approach, bringing together academics researching the condition with members of the local community.

During the visit the Mayor had the opportunity to meet people with dementia and their carers and to hear about research being carried out improve quality of life.

Speaking about how visiting the Dementia Hub on a regular basis has transformed her life, one of the Hub’s Dementia Associates – people living with dementia or carers who work with the Institute on community work and research – said: "I feel that because I've had this input, my dementia isn;t deteriorating as if I had been sat in the house on my own watching the telly."

Bake Off

The highlight of the visit was an impromptu Bake Off competition between Andy Burnham, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Salford Helen Marshall, and Hub associates and their carers. The competition was judged by the Rt Hon Hazel Blears, external advisor to the Salford Institute for Dementia and a patron of the Alzheimer’s Society.

Cake decorating is one of 90 activity sessions per month that are put on for people living with dementia and their carers at the Hub – including everything from craft, gardening and music sessions to demonstrations of the latest dementia-friendly design and face-to-face discussions with researchers.

Andy Burnham, said: “We won’t have a 21st century NHS until it supports people with dementia as well as it people with cancer. We are still some miles away from that, but things are beginning to change. Earlier this year the World Health Organization recognised Greater Manchester as the UK’s first age-friendly city-region, which shows that we are going in the right direction.  

Changing powers

“Devolution gives Greater Manchester a unique opportunity to do things differently. We can chart a path to a new integrated health and social care service that is fit for purpose, and capable of meeting the needs of a rapidly growing older population. Research centres like this one are vital to the success of these ambitions and will see Greater Manchester become a hub for dementia research.”

Kathryn Smith, Chief Operating Officer at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Someone in the UK develops dementia every three minutes and almost all of us know someone whose life has been affected - yet too many people face the condition alone, without adequate support.

“Everyone has a part to play in creating a dementia-friendly country, and simple actions like asking questions to understand dementia and offering support to those affected can have a big impact,so it’s great to see the University of Salford putting people with dementia and their carers at the heart of what they do every day.

“This year, we’ve changed Dementia Awareness Week to Dementia Action Week because raising awareness will always be important, people affected by dementia have told us we must go further, and it’s only if we all unite and take action against dementia that change will happen for the thousands of people affected.”

Christopher Eccleston

The Mayor’s visit to the Hub was one of a host of activities at the University of Salford to mark Dementia Action Week,which included a panel debate with Salford actor Christopher Eccleston on perceptions of dementia in the media and society, a public engagement event with Alzheimer’s Research UK around dementia research and various fundraising activities in support of the donor-funded Dementia Hub.

Notes to editors

Mayor Andy Burnham was accompanied on his visit to the Dementia Hub at the Salford Institute for Dementia by a number of leading figures from national dementia charities: Kathryn Smith, Chief Operating Officer at the Alzheimer’s Society, Helen Davies, Head of Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Research UK, and David Croisdale-Appleby, Chairman of Dementia UK.

The Dementia Hub at the University of Salford was opened in May 2017 and is a physical place for those living with dementia and their carers to come, socialise and take part in a range of stimulating activities. The Hub has been designed to be dementia-friendly and is entirely funded by philanthropic donations and fundraising.

The Salford Institute for Dementia was established in 2014 and undertakes research across a number of interdisciplinary themes: user involvement and service improvement; the environment;creativity; technology; and robotics and artificial intelligence. People living with dementia are at the heart of the Institute’s work and a panel of Dementia Associates, people with dementia and those caring for someone living with the condition, advises the Institute across all of its activities and research,which is a truly unique approach.

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Gareth Hollyman, Senior Press & PR Officer (Science)

0161 295 6895