Thwaite/Bury St Edmunds: Pub staff are the latest to sign up for Dementia Friends scheme

The Bucks Head in Thwaite is hosting a Dementia Friends session. The pub is also planning to host re

The Bucks Head in Thwaite is hosting a Dementia Friends session. The pub is also planning to host regular lunches for people with dementia and their carers.

Staff at a Suffolk pub have raised the bar in their efforts to make their hostelry more inviting for people with dementia.

Sam Elstone, landlady of the Bucks Head in Thwaite, joined bar and kitchen staff in becoming a Dementia Friend – an Alzheimer’s Society initiative aimed at giving people a better understanding of the condition, and the small things people can do to make a difference.

The society contacted the EADT about the scheme after reading about West Suffolk Hospital’s Forget-Me-Not Dementia Campaign which is being run in conjunction with the paper.

The team at the Bucks Head recently took part in a special information session put on by Alzheimer’s Society dementia support worker Claire Blackwell-Jones.

By becoming Dementia Friends, staff at the pub are joining a social movement which is aiming to have a million sign ups by 2015.

Ms Elstone and landlord Richard Hayward are also looking to turn the pub into a hub during Dementia Awareness Week, from May 18 to 24, where people can come in to pick up information about Alzheimer’s Society services and dementia.

As well as this, they will be introducing a special monthly lunch event for people with dementia and carers.

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Ms Elstone said: “With dementia affecting so many people in Suffolk – including the families of our own staff – it is only right we should make sure that what we provide is accessible and inclusive of people with the condition.

“Becoming Dementia Friends seemed like the obvious step for us all to take to enable us to gain a better understanding of dementia. We are all really excited to be able to wear our badges (inset) with pride and will continue to do all we can to make the Bucks Head a truly dementia friendly pub.”

Ms Blackwell-Jones said she hoped more people would follow the pub’s lead.

She added: “Unfortunately we know that people with dementia often feel like they are no longer able to do the things they used to enjoy – such as going to the pub or shops.

“It is therefore fantastic to have people like the staff at the Bucks Head wanting to change this picture and play their part in making communities more dementia friendly.

“One in three people over 65 will develop dementia so it is really important that we look to increase understanding and awareness of the condition.”

To find out more about how to become a Dementia Friend, visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk

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