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Dementia buddy scheme Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services in Northfleet wins UK charity award

A buddy scheme for hospital patients living with dementia has won a national charity award.

The winning team
The winning team

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services in Northfleet beat charities from across the UK to win the social care and welfare category for its Dementia Buddy Scheme at The Charity Awards 2014.

The project, originally funded by Kent County Council, recruits and trains volunteers to visit patients in hospital who are living with dementia and join them in activities such as reading, dancing, singing, walking, chatting and playing board games.

This reduces anxiety and improves the atmosphere on the ward.

Liz Jewell, chief of the Dene Holm Road charity, said: “We are delighted. We’ve served the community since 1991 and we are always looking for new ways of meeting the changing needs of our clients and the Dementia Buddy Scheme seemed an obvious way of helping those who are at their most vulnerable.

“I am so proud of the staff and volunteers who make this scheme work so successfully.”

The charity piloted the project at Darent Valley Hospital with funding from Kent County Council in 2012 and it was so successful it then secured funding from the Dementia Challenge Fund.

It has been commissioned by Medway Maritime Trust and Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells Trust. The scheme developed during the pilot can now be replicated in any hospital.

Alzheimer’s & Dementia Support Services plans to make a blueprint for the Dementia Buddy Scheme available for others to download. It will also add a number of support packages for a fee which will generate income for the charity.

Charity Awards judge Sir Christopher Kelly applauded the “simplicity” of the concept which tackles a “very real issue” and said it was “properly evaluated and capable of being rolled out”.

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