Dementia Friends training recognised at national awards

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We're incredibly proud to have won the Staff Education award at this year's Better Society Awards for our Dementia Friends training.

The national awards took place on Thursday 12 May at the Millennium Hotel in London. Organised by the Better Society Network, the Better Society Awards reach out beyond the horizons of any one sector to assess and reward those who are helping create a better, more equal, ethical and sustainable world from the corporate perspective. 

Minnie Moll, Joint Chief Executive at the East of England Co-op, said: “It was a privilege to accept the Better Society Award for our Dementia Friends Awareness Training, on behalf of all the team involved at the East of England Co-op, and our partners at the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance. 

“A big thank you must go to all of our colleagues, over 3,000 of them so far, that have completed the voluntary training and signed up as Dementia Friends. It is their understanding and kindness that will make the difference to our members and customers living with dementia when they visit our stores and branches. I’m sure this will spur us on with our mission to become the leading Dementia Friendly Retailer.”

In September 2014, the East of England Co-op made a pledge to be the region’s leading Dementia Friendly Retailer, embarking on a programme of awareness-raising and training, amongst other activities, to change the way people think, act and talk about dementia.

Using real life stories gathered from their members and customers who care for someone or are living with dementia themselves, the East of England Co-op created four bespoke learning opportunities for their colleagues, in partnership with the Norfolk and Suffolk Dementia Alliance. This included face-to-face sessions, an e-learning package and a special session for their security team. They also worked with University Campus Suffolk to offer colleagues the opportunity to take part in an experiential learning challenge, ‘Shopping in their Shoes’.

The East of England Co-op has since shared the training with other local groups and organisations, including the Ipswich Street Rangers and over 90 Cub Scouts. They’re also the only regional representative currently contributing to the National Dementia Friendly Retail Guide, and have been invited to take part in the National Dementia Friendly Business pilot working alongside Heathrow Airport, Coutts, Barclays, Lloyds Bank, Sainsbury’s and BT. 

In recognition of Dementia Awareness Week (Sunday 15 to Saturday 21 May) the East of England Co-op will be taking part in Forget-Me-Not Friday on the 20 May. Colleagues across the business will wear blue to help raise money for great local causes who help support those living with dementia in our region.