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Fortrose Academy first to become Dementia Friendly in Ross shire

Fortrose Academy is set to be celebrated for their involvement with Alzheimer Scotland’s Dementia Friendly Communities project and for being the first in Ross-shire to become dementia friendly. The Academy will now be recognised at an event involving local residents and local councillors on Thursday 15 June.

The project has seen young people engage with the national dementia charity to support older people to use the internet for the first time for banking, emails and searching for products and services such as personal aids and care homes.  In return, older people have contributed to the election process for the Highland Youth Parliament and a few hardy folk have been out on the water in the Cromarty Community Rowing Club skiff, ‘Cromba’.

With the support of staff at High Life Highland’s Youth Services, students have also been working hard to engage with their local older people’s community with positive results including a number of young people becoming ‘Dementia Friends’ and supporting the Alzheimer Scotland dementia café in Avoch.

Beverley Hooper, Dementia Friendly Community Development Worker at Alzheimer Scotland, said: “By becoming Dementia Friends, young people not only understand more about dementia and the small things everyone can do to help people with the condition, but through their fantastic efforts, they have raised the profile of dementia across the Black Isle.”

“Many young people who support these projects have got over 50 hours on their Saltire Award and there’s no doubt that these projects have had a really positive effect on them and on the people they are supporting.  I am absolutely delighted to be awarding Fortrose Academy as a ‘Dementia Friendly Community’ and as an example of how with a little effort, we can all help ensure that nobody faces dementia alone.”

Speaking about the initiative, High Life Highland Chief Executive, Ian Murray congratulated the pupils at Fortrose Academy for achieving dementia friendly status saying, “I am pleased that High Life Highland is able to support this very worthwhile project through many of our own adult and youth initiatives.

“By participating in areas such as our ‘getting to know your techno’ or through our ‘Cookwell’ programme – where young people cook food for older people in the community – it results in some really interesting and positive inter-generational conversations and engagements taking place. All of this can only have a positive effect in terms of improving knowledge of dementia while contributing to assisting in other important areas such as reducing social isolation and loneliness.”

The Highland Councillors who represent the Black Isle Ward, Cllrs Gordon Adam, Jennifer Barclay and Craig Fraser added their support.  They said: “Congratulations to the staff and students of Fortrose Academy for taking this initiative. Not only does it provide very practical help to older people who can struggle with new technology, it provides companionship for old and young alike, and help create better understanding between the generations. We will follow the progress of “Dementia Friends” with interest.”

Dementia is our biggest health and social care challenge. In Scotland there are around 90,000 people living with dementia and by 2020 it is estimated that there will be over 1 million people living with the illness in the UK. Alzheimer Scotland is passionate that nobody should face alone and is working across communities to help raise vital funds to support dementia support services including the 24-hour Freephone.

If you have any questions about dementia and of the services available in your area call Alzheimer Scotland’s 24 Hour Helpline on 0808 808 3000 or visit the website at www.alzscot.org

For more information about Dementia Friendly Communities in the region, call Beverley Hooper on mobile:  07554 408479 or email: [email protected].