Major retailers to make their staff Dementia Friends
Three major retailers together with Lloyds Banking Group are to help make UK high streets more dementia friendly after committing to create over 121,500 Dementia Friends in shops and banks across the UK.
Argos, Homebase and Marks & Spencer are all taking part in the Alzheimer’s Society initiative which is backed by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
A recent study by Alzheimer’s Society found that one in four people with dementia had given up shopping since being diagnosed, even though the majority felt it was an important activity that made them feel part of their community. Dementia Friends will help retail and bank staff learn about dementia and the steps they can take to help people with the condition.
Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Many people with dementia tell us that shopping and visiting their local high street can be very stressful but today’s announcement brings us a step closer to becoming a dementia friendly society. We applaud Argos, Homebase, Marks and Spencer and Lloyds Banking Group on their commitment to help their staff understand more about dementia.”
Alzheimer’s Society is now calling on other businesses to work to become more dementia friendly by offering sessions to their staff.
Terry Duddy, chief executive of Home Retail Group which owns Argos and Homebase, said: “Argos and Homebase have shown real passion in driving forward change for people with dementia. We are offering all of our 50,000 colleagues the opportunity to become Dementia Friends. Already over 250 colleagues have taken part in the programme. Colleagues say this has made a real difference to them personally and that they will be in a better position to understand customers and their carers who have been affected by dementia.”’
Sacha Berendji, Marks & Spencer retail director, added: “When we heard that a quarter of all people with dementia feel that they can no longer go shopping, despite it being the local activity that they enjoy most, we knew that M&S had to play a part in changing this for the better. We want our stores to be friendly, safe environments for customers with dementia. That’s why we will be empowering all 60,000 of our store colleagues to become Dementia Friends over the course of the year.”
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