May 18, 2017
New Dementia Action Alliance Group formed in Burnham-On-Sea

A new Dementia Action Alliance Group has been formed in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge to work towards making the towns more dementia aware.

Representatives from several organisations within the towns came together with a common interest at the beginning of April and have already held two meetings to discuss how the group will implement the changes going forward.

Chair of the group is Deborah Matthews, who had already approached Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Commerce in January with a view to making Burnham-On-Sea businesses both more dementia aware and more accessible.

Deborah, right, told "As an Accessible Tourism Officer and Dementia Champion, I was keen to speak to the local businesses to make the resort more accessible for all. Although dementia is the main focus of this group, I also want to educate the businesses on becoming more accessible not just to those with physical disabilities, but also those with mental health issues and special educational needs."

Other representatives already involved in the new DAA group include Burnham-On-Sea Memorial Hospital, St Andrew’s Church, Hands of Change Burnham-On-Sea, BiARS, Community Council for Somerset, Burnham & Highbridge Town Council and Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

Steve Ballinger, Community Agent for Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge said: "It’s estimated that more than a million people in the UK will have dementia by the year 2025. I support a number of people with dementia and their carers in Burnham-on-Sea and Highbridge and making the towns a dementia friendly community will help them and visitors to our towns. This is a great initiative."

"Burnham and Highbridge Town Council are very keen to be a real part of this excellent initiative to promote awareness of dementia and to support those affected," says Tatiana Cant, Town Clerk.

Special Dementia Champions John Hardy and Dr Avril Staunton will be coming along to the next Town Council meeting to provide a special training session for all councillors. Any local residents attending the meeting will also have the benefit of hearing the training and learning how they can help. The meeting starts at 7pm on Monday 5th June in the Old Courthouse, Jaycroft Road.

Highbridge Medical Centre staff are undertaking Dementia Friends training on the 20th June, with Burnham Medical Centre taking part later in the year.

Deborah will be doing a presentation on Accessible and Dementia Tourism at the Burnham-On-Sea Chamber of Trade AGM, which takes place at 7pm on 22nd June at The Princess Theatre.

If you would like more information on the group, email, or attend the next meeting on Tuesday 13th June at 6pm at BiARS (Burnham Information Centre) on The Esplanade.


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