Steph is an Advisory Officer in the Adult Social Care Contact Centre at Surrey County Council and Dementia Friends Champion
What is a 'Dementia Friends Champion'?
A 'Dementia Friends Champion' is a volunteer who encourages others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia in their community. They do this by giving them information about the personal impact of dementia, and what they can do to help.
Why did you to become a 'Dementia Friends Champion'?
"I was motivated to find out more about dementia from a personal experience with a close family member. I did not understand the condition and how it affects the person and their family, friends and community, and I wanted to find out more."
"I started researching dementia to find out more about it, I learnt a lot from the Alzheimer's website, where I signed up and became a Dementia Friend. I jumped at the chance to be a team champion for dementia in the contact centre, which involved attending various Dementia Day Centres across Surrey, liaising with Dementia Navigators and meeting the people who run the seven dementia units in Surrey. I then undertook the training provided by the Alzheimer's Society to become a Dementia Champion."
How long have you been a 'Dementia Friends Champion' and how many people have you trained to become a 'Dementia Friend'?
"I have been a 'Dementia Friend' for over two years and a 'Dementia Friends Champion' for one year. I've delivered 16 dementia awareness sessions and have made 144 people Dementia Friends! I have trained several Surrey County Council teams and recently delivered a session for the Chief Executive, the Director of Adult Social Care and Public Health and their support teams."
Have you seen the positive results of your dementia training?
"The positives are that people leave the sessions with more knowledge and awareness of dementia, enabling them to see signs of dementia and how to help the person live well and independently. I ask people to fill out an evaluation form after the training, and I have received some lovely comments from colleagues who have attended. I enjoy seeing people stop and think about dementia, and how they might have seen signs of it in a loved one, and how they could help to make that person more comfortable."
"My biggest achievement was being asked to present a slot on my role as a Dementia Champion at the Finals of the Customer Excellence Award 2015 in London, where the Adult Social Care Contact Centre team won the Silver Award for Government/Professional Services and Not for Profit."
To find out more, visit the Dementia Friends website.
To speak to someone about volunteering where you live, get in touch with your local Volunteer Centre.