Hundreds of Principality colleagues become dementia friends to help some of Wales’ most vulnerable

Principality Building Society has committed to supporting customers across Wales with dementia by training over 450 colleagues to become ‘dementia friends’ as part of an Alzheimer’s Society programme.

Dementia Friends is the UK’s largest education initiative to transform how people think, act and talk about dementia. With over 45,000 people living with dementia in Wales, colleagues across the society’s 53 branches and head office have taken part in workshops to become a Dementia Friend, which includes learning about how dementia affects people. From the workshops, colleagues are equipped with the skills and knowledge to best support members, as well as people living in the community with dementia.

As people living with dementia are vulnerable and many shielding due to the pandemic, Principality’s charity partner Alzheimer’s Society has said that sessions to raise awareness of the condition have never been more important. The charity’s Dementia Connect service, a telephone service offering support and emotional reassurance to people living with dementia and their loved ones, has seen a huge increase in demand this year. Since March, Alzheimer’s Society has reached over two million people through its support services.

To support this, Principality has donated over £130,000 since 2019 to the Dementia Connect service and has recently signed up to the Companion Calls scheme, where colleagues have regular phone calls with those affected by dementia, to help them feel more connected and less isolated.

Stacey Hawdon, Corporate Fundraiser at Alzheimer’s Society said:

“We’re incredibly grateful to Principality Building Society for its continued support. The ongoing pandemic has been particularly difficult for people living with dementia, many of whom feel isolated and alone. Principality’s support will not only help us meet the increased demand of our Dementia Connect support line and services, but its commitment to becoming a Dementia Friendly business will provide staff with an enhanced understanding of the challenges their customers affected by dementia may face.

“People with dementia are coping with the suspension of all face-to-face services, social distancing measures and self-isolation, so our support line and virtual services will ensure that we can be there for them at this desperate time. With lockdown restrictions tightening and a difficult winter ahead, it’s essential that we all play a part in helping people with dementia to access the support they need.”

Julie-Ann Haines, Chief Executive Officer at Principality Building Society said:

‘‘It is so important that we are supporting the most vulnerable during these difficult times.  The huge demand for Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect service highlights the effect that little social interaction and not keeping up with daily routines has on people living with dementia.

“As a member-owned organisation, we have a duty to support our communities. We are proud that our colleagues have taken part in awareness and volunteering initiatives such as Dementia Friends and Companion Calls, to best support people living with dementia in their local communities, as well as raising vital funds for Alzheimer’s Society.’’

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