Drivers Help Rev Up Dementia Campaign

 

A Blackpool transport company has joined over 4000 others across the town to become dementia friendly.

Blackpool Transport drivers and employees have become the latest workforce to sign up to help people living with dementia in the town, meaning that they can help people with the disease

Around 600 bus and tram drivers, along with backroom office staff have learnt how to spot people living with dementia as well as ways that they can help them in their jobs.

It comes as Blackpool Council helps support Dementia Awareness Week, which runs from 15 to 22 May and will see events taking place across the town, as well as The Blackpool Tower lighting up in gold and blue.

For people living with dementia, things can often appear different to how they really are, so paying for fares with coins, and recognising their stop can be more difficult than normal.

Blackpool Transport staff have now been trained to recognise when people with dementia need help and offer it, while people can also pick up bus pass wallets which state their disability to the driver and what extra help they might need. The wallets can be picked up at the customer services shop on Market Street or via Empowerment.

The training, which will be annually reviewed for all staff, means that over 4,500 people in Blackpool have now been trained up as dementia friends, beating the council’s initial target of 2,000 people by 2020.

The Blackpool Dementia Alliance is one of the projects supported by the Blackpool Fairness Commission, in order to provide more support to those people who live with the disease.

Cllr Christine Wright, Blackpool Council’s Older People’s Champion and chair of Blackpool Transport said: “People living with Dementia often lose the confidence to travel on public transport which means that they can easily become isolated within their own community.

“It’s really important that everybody can recognise dementia and help people who have it go out about their daily lives as normally as possible.

“With a helping hand, people living with dementia can still enjoy their hobbies, have good relationships with partners and friends and live independently for longer.

“It’s wonderful that so many people and companies have signed up to become dementia friends. The chances are that all of us will encounter somebody with dementia in our personal or professional life so it’s really important that we can all offer help where we can.”