UK Power Networks to roll out ‘Dementia Friends’ programme for nearly 6,000 employees
UK Power Networks, which is responsible for electricity distribution across East Anglia, London and the South East, is marking Dementia Awareness Week by rolling out an awareness programme to thousands of its staff.
As part of a commitment to becoming a dementia-friendly business, UK Power Networks is providing coaching for its employees to help them understand the needs of customers living with dementia.
Matt Rudling, director of customer services at UK Power Networks, said: “People often have a personal response to this programme because dementia doesn’t just affect our customers, it affects many of our employees in their personal lives.
“Through group discussion and activities they can apply what they learn to improve the lives of everyone they know who is living with dementia.
“A power cut can be unsettling for someone living with dementia, and we believe that by building greater awareness and understanding of dementia, our staff will be able to provide a service more appropriate to their needs.”
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The Dementia Friends initiative from the Alzheimer’s Society helps companies of all kinds to provide a better service to people living with dementia and their families and carers.
UK Power Networks’ directors and senior managers have already become Dementia Friends and over the summer almost 6,000 staff will receive information and take part in discussion groups led by managers.
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Lenny Shallcross, head of community Engagement at the Alzheimer’s Society, said: “People with dementia are among the most vulnerable in society, so it’s vital that public-facing organisations understand the condition and how their staff can offer help and understanding.
“As we mark Dementia Awareness Week, Alzheimer’s Society encourages everyone across the country to come together to offer help and understanding, urgently find a cure and improve care for people living with dementia.”
Dementia recently overtook heart disease as the leading cause of death in England and Wales and there are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to more than 1m by 2025.
Over the past year UK Power Networks has seen a 138% increase in the number customers affected by dementia registering for its free priority service in the event of a power cut.
Pensioners, parents with small babies, disabled people, hearing and sight-impaired residents and those using medical equipment powered by electricity at home also qualify to join the Priority Services Register.