We’ve once again teamed-up with our friends at Belong Villages Wigan to combine some tech fabulousness in with their Dementia Friend training. In March 2016, Holy Family Primary School in Platt Bridge became (what we think… so correct us if we are wrong!), the first primary school in the Borough to have EVERY year group become a Dementia Friend. Whoop! Whoop! Working with Belong we co-delivered a series of back-to-back Dementia Friend sessions that had Techniscence practices interwoven into them throughout a full school day, so that by 3pm years 1 – 6 were all Dementia Friends… and their teachers too!
As part of this day-long series of techie wonderfulness over 140 people became Dementia Friends, supporting the community of Platt Bridge to become more dementia-friendly and aware than it was before. Our approach to this is simple; to start with today’s children, so that being aware about Dementia and interacting with people with Dementia is just completely and utterly normal. People with Dementia are just that, People and we need to breakdown the barriers that the face in engaging with the communities in which they live and the people who make up those communities. These types of activities do just that.
As part of the training we and Belong deliver, the children and their teachers explore how Dementia work and what it is. They also have a dabble at how basic tablet technology and the Internet can support memory recollection though using Apps such as Spotify to find ‘music memories’ and create bespoke playlists, to how digital photography can help preserve more contemporary memories and how platforms like Pinterest can be used to share these and the memories associated with them, with others. Through combining the Dementia Friends training and tech activities, the children engage in the topic and meaningfully reflect on how they can contribute to making were they live more dementia friendly. Pledges they have made on the day include, telling their parents about Dementia (i.e. raising awareness, spreading the message), having patience with older people (i.e. being more aware and responsive to their needs) and not making fun of anyone who may look different or being acting strangely (i.e. not highlight difference, but embracing people as part of their shared community).
We’re currently hoping to expand this across the whole of Platt Bridge and then perhaps the Abram Ward… and who knows, perhaps this is another Wigan Borough wide programme of activity just waiting to launch?