East of England Co-op named 'Organisation of the Year' at Alzheimer's Society's Awards

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The East of England Co-op has been recognised for their "remarkable" efforts to make life better for people living with dementia at Alzheimer's Society's 2016 Dementia Friendly Awards.

The awards celebrate organisations, communities and individuals making outstanding contributions towards improving the lives and experiences of people living with dementia. 

The East of England Co-op was named 'Dementia Friendly Organisation - Large, of the Year' at this year's awards. 

They've implemented e-learning and tailored training alongside Dementia Friends sessions for all colleagues, and undertaken shopping surveys to help adapt the physical environment of their stores. They are developing a carer's charter and working to become a dementia-friendly employer, and support other Dementia Friendly Community initiatives in their area. They are also working to share their learning with other retailers across the UK. 

The East of England Co-op was presented with their award at a ceremony that took place in Westminster, London, on Wednesday 30 November, hosted by Alzheimer's Society Ambassador Angela Rippon.

There are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia, with this figure set to rise to over a million by 2021. With myths and misunderstandings around dementia continuing to contribute to the stigma and isolation many people feel, Alzheimer's Society warns it has never been more vital for communities to rally together to make a difference to the lives of people with dementia. 

Alzheimer’s Society’s Chief Executive, Jeremy Hughes, said: “Dementia is the biggest health and social care issue facing our society and there’s no question that it has a profound and devastating impact for many – but the actions of the East of England Co-op and others like them are helping to raise better awareness, break down stigma and make our communities more dementia friendly.

“What makes our winners so remarkable is the way they use their imagination, energy and enthusiasm to inspire others. East of England Co-op has gone that extra mile to make a bigger difference in their community for people with dementia and they will inspire others to follow their example in all walks of life.”

They demonstrate the huge success of Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friendly Communities and Dementia Friends programmes – there are now 1.7 million Dementia Friends and over 200 Dementia Friendly Communities supporting people with dementia at a local level.

Minnie Moll, Joint Chief Executive for the East of England Co-op and HRH The Prince of Wales Ambassador for Responsible Business in the East of England, said: “Shopping is something that most of us take for granted and we wanted to better understand what we as a local retailer can do to make a real difference to people’s lives and help them to feel a part of their community for as long as possible.

“With a little support and understanding, we know our stores can play a role in helping people with dementia to live well. To date over 87% of colleagues have voluntarily undertaken the bespoke training – that’s over 3,950 registered as Dementia Friends.

“We’re very pleased to now be in a position where we can support other local businesses - from football teams and Scout groups, to restaurants, shopping centres and other retailers - to take their first steps towards understanding dementia and the difference they can make.”