Alzheimer's Society volunteer drive draws 11,000 responses

Dementia Friends initiative will be launched fully next month, and the charity hopes that up to 6,000 volunteers will become Dementia Friends champions

Dementia Friends
Dementia Friends

Within two months of its launch, almost 11,000 people have registered their interest in participating in a government-funded volunteering initiative, known as Dementia Friends, to raise awareness about dementia.

In November, the Alzheimer’s Society, backed by £2.4m of government money, called for a million people to sign up by 2015.

The scheme will provide awareness sessions for the public about how to spot dementia and support people with the condition. Those who attend will become 'dementia friends'.

The charity hopes to recruit about 6,000 volunteers, known as ‘dementia friends champions’, who will be trained to talk about dementia to people in their communities.

Of the 10,986 people who have registered to receive updates about the programme, 2,288 have answered an online survey. Of those, 69 per cent said they would like to be dementia friends, while 53 per cent are willing to be dementia friends champions.

Gayle Willis, head of communications at the Alzheimer’s Society, said the response was encouraging, considering people had not yet received much information about the project.

Dementia Friends will by launched fully on 12 February. Willis said that the launch would be more "consumer-focused" than the announcement of government funding in November and would explain more about the project to the public.

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