School’s support for Dementia Awareness Week

Pupils from Bernard Gilpin Primary School join with elderly people during a dementia awareness event.
Pupils from Bernard Gilpin Primary School join with elderly people during a dementia awareness event.
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Youngsters were anything but blue when they dressed in the colour to support Dementia Awareness Week.

Children from Bernard Gilpin Primary School, in Houghton, held a week of events to promote the work being done to support sufferers and their families.

With the slogan, “Try something new, wear something blue” the aim of the week, organised by the Alzheimer’s Society, was to raise awareness of the condition and get the message across that life doesn’t end when dementia begins and people can still live a full life, trying new things.

Fiona Bridle, Dementia Project Lead at Bernard Gilpin, said the school community enjoyed a range of events, including the youngsters singing at Beamish Museum for the Alzheimer’s Society.

She said as well as having a day of trying new foods, the children also learnt about dementia in a new environment.

Mrs Bridle said: “Each class went to a special house in the playground called Bernard Bear’s Clubhouse.

“Whilst there, we shared information about dementia and read stories to our classes that are linked to dementia.

“To celebrate trying new things, every child drew/wrote about something new that they have tried and enjoyed doing and something new that they would like to try.”

To raise funds for the society the children held a non-uniform day where everyone wore something blue.

And, the school council led an assembly telling other students how they can help people with dementia.

Earlier this year, television presenter, Angela Rippon, an ambassador of the Alzheimer’s Society, visited Bernard Gilpin Primary School to see for herself the ground-breaking work it is doing to create a dementia-friendly community in Houghton.

The Hall Lane school has made key steps towards reducing the stigma that results in many people with dementia experiencing loneliness and social exclusion, by becoming Dementia Friends and opening up their doors to those affected.

It has even won awards for its work that involves activities such as Singing for the Brain music therapy sessions and hosting Dementia Cafes.

Angela said: “Bernard Gilpin pupils are setting tremendous examples for their fellow students and I really think they can inspire an entire generation to change attitudes for the better.”