School praised in national dementia awards

Staff from Bernard Gilpin Primary School pick up their award from The Alzheimer's Society and Angela Rippon.
Staff from Bernard Gilpin Primary School pick up their award from The Alzheimer's Society and Angela Rippon.
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A CITY school has scooped top praise in new national charity awards.

Bernard Gilpin Primary School has been highly commended in the first Alzheimer’s Society awards to recognise and celebrate the work of individuals and organisations to improve the lives of people with dementia.

The Houghton school was honoured in the schools category of the Dementia Friendly Awards during a ceremony at Westminster Hall hosted by Alzheimer’s Society ambassador Angela Rippon and chief executive Jeremy Hughes.

Headteacher Andrew Bainbridge was among the nominees from across England who met the charity’s celebrity supporters, including actresses Linda Bellingham and Alice Eve.

He said: “We are very proud to have had our efforts to be dementia-friendly recognised and we are all thrilled to have been highly-commended in these new awards.

“Our school is right at the heart of our community and we are determined to do our bit to make Houghton a place where people with dementia can live well within the area.

“We also put an emphasis on making sure that our pupils, who have relished the new challenges they have been posed by the school, have a fully rounded education and having a fuller understanding of dementia is an important part of their learning as the number of people with the condition rises.”

Bernard Gilpin Primary is one of the pioneer schools, which are part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia.

To help develop children’s understanding of dementia, the pupils have been learning about the brain, dementia and its effects and people living with dementia have talked to the young people about how they cope with the disease and how the children can support them to live well within their community.

The school has opened The Living Room, which is an accessible area of the school for community activities which include, Singing for the Brain, a dementia cafe, dance and an intergenerational choir where children and people affected by dementia sing together.

Alzheimer’s Society regional operations manager, Hazel Cuthbertson, said: “We are delighted that Bernard Gilpin Primary School has won an award in the first Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Awards.

“This is a tribute to all their hard work in spearheading dementia-friendly community work.”