Television personality Angela Rippon has paid tribute to students and staff at a Blyth school for their pioneering efforts to create a dementia-friendly generation.
The broadcaster and Alzheimer’s Society ambassador hailed Blyth Academy for its campaign to create a dementia-friendly community.
Angela spoke out as the Alzheimer’s Society and Public Health England joined forces in calling on schools across Northumberland to follow the example set by their Blyth Academy peers.
Students at the academy have made key steps towards reducing the stigma that results in many people with dementia experiencing loneliness and social exclusion by becoming Dementia Friends.
“The Blyth Academy pupils are setting a tremendous example for their fellow students across the north east and I really think they can inspire an entire generation to change attitudes for the better,” said Angela.
“They are growing up with the knowledge and understanding necessary to get rid of the taboo that is attached to dementia as well as the social isolation and loneliness that rub salt into wounds for families affected by the condition.
“We’re hoping to achieve an entire dementia-friendly generation who will understand what dementia is and who will not be afraid or frightened by the disease.
“It’s encouraging to know we are heading in the right direction because of the sterling Dementia Friends work the staff and students are doing at Blyth Academy.”
The Chase Farm Drive school has teamed up with local Alzheimer’s Society staff to make sure that staff and students have raised their awareness of dementia through the Dementia Friends initiative.
People with dementia locally were also invited into the school for their first ever Christmas gathering as academy staff and students try to remove barriers faced by families affected by the condition in their community.
Angela added: “I would love every school in the north to follow their lead, it would absolutely brilliant.”
And the school scored a first when sixth-formers became the youngest ever students to be trained to be the Dementia Friends Champions who are able to lead the special awareness sessions needed to become a Dementia Friend.