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Pupils are the first in Haverhill to become Dementia Friends

PUBLISHED: 13:39 22 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:04 22 February 2019

Pupils at Burton End Primary Academy in Haverhill have become Dementia Friends Picture: YOPEY

Pupils at Burton End Primary Academy in Haverhill have become Dementia Friends Picture: YOPEY

A Haverhill primary school has become the first in the town to create a pool of young Dementia Friends.

Burton End Primary Academy has teamed up with local charity YOPEY for the Alzheimer’s Society programme, which has helped students learn about dementia and the small ways they can help.

To foster this empathy and understanding, year five pupils have visited elderly residents at the nearby Meadows Care Home.

So far YOPEY has made four classes at Burton End – about 90 pupils – into Dementia Friends.

Karen Sheargold, headteacher of Burton End Primary Academy, said: “I am incredibly proud of the pupils’ commitment to the Dementia Friends programme and their overall understanding of dementia.

“The partnership with YOPEY is helping to take away the fear of dementia while also bridging the generational gap when it comes to providing support.

“We have developed a great relationship with the care home and I have seen some of the residents light up when our pupils walk in. But the visits have also helped our pupils focus on developing empathy – which is one of the values at Burton End.”

Tony Gearing MBE, founder of YOPEY, said he had already forged close links with other schools including Thomas Gainsborough School which, like Burton End, is also part of the Unity Schools Partnership.

Mr Gearing said: “We are delighted to support Burton End Academy in making the group of Dementia Friends within the school.

“The excitement and anticipation of the young pupils when we go into the school is palpable.”

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