Royal & Derngate will create ‘dementia friendly’ schedule with help from University of Northampton

Date 20.04.2018

Royal & Derngate scooped the free services of a University of Northampton intern to help them shape and implement their plan to make the theatre better serve the needs of people with dementia and their carers.

The theatre won with their continuing plan to create programmes that are scheduled to make it easier for those with dementia and their carers to attend events together.

The award, whose runners-up were Northampton Borough Council and Northamptonshire Carers, was open to any organisation or business in the county that wanted to improve the experience of people with dementia and their carers who access their services.

The intern – who has yet to be chosen – will be introduced to Royal & Derngate during ‘Dementia Awareness Week’ which runs from 21-27 May. Their services will be paid for by University of Northampton and match-funded by sponsor Santander bank.

The placement is co-funded by the University of Northampton’s ‘Changemaker’ initiative and sponsor Santander Bank.

Changemaker projects focus on finding solutions to environmental or social problems to improve people’s lives.

Commenting on their win Martin Sutherland, Chief Executive of Royal & Derngate said: “We are continually working to improve the welcome that we can offer to people living with dementia and their families and carers.

“We are proud of what we have been able to achieve so far with our regular Dementia Friendly screenings at the Errol Flynn Filmhouse – in particular our recent introduction of screenings for people living with early on-set dementia – and we are pleased that we will now be able to develop our plans further throughout the organisation with the help our new University intern.

“I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all our team members and volunteers for their work in this area – it’s great to see that work being celebrated with this award.”

Dr Steve O’Brien, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Society commented: “Having awards like this helps promote the excellence of local organisations who are working to help people with dementia and their carers receive better service and feel more supported in their day to day lives.

“As scientists battle to find better treatments for these conditions, I’m proud that organisations like Royal & Derngate and the brilliant runners-up are working with University of Northampton to do their bit to help those affected by dementia.”

Wray Irwin, Head of the University of Northampton’s Centre for Employability and Engagement, added: “These awards connect the two things I believe in most about our University. Our role working with local businesses and, as one of only two AshokaU campuses in the UK, driving a positive change in communities by harnessing the passion and commitment of our students as the ‘Changemakers of tomorrow’. Well done to the winner and to the University team for organising them”

Hilda Hayo, CEO of Dementia UK, presented the award, saying: “These awards are an important part of how we are increasing understanding of dementia. Already, people are less afraid of revealing and talking about having dementia. This is thanks to the efforts of organisations such as those who entered these awards. A big thank you to them and to the University of Northampton for creating the award.”

The University of Northampton is leading on projects to place the county at the forefront of dementia preparation. These include the creation of the UnityDEM centre which provides support to people with a diagnosis of dementia and their carers.

For further information about dementia related activities that the University supports, including our annual Memory Days and the Forget Me Nots support group for people with dementia and their carers, visit the Northamptonshire Communities of Practice webpage.