BUSINESSES in Bishop Auckland are being urged to show more support to people with dementia as part of a campaign to make the town more friendly to those with the condition.

As a result of the newly-elected mayor of Bishop Auckland, Councillor Colin Race choosing the Alzheimer’s Society as his charity for his term of office, Bishop Auckland Town Council has pledged to become a Dementia Friend to help raise awareness of the condition.

It aims to make Bishop Auckland a Dementia Friendly Town by encouraging individuals and business to also become Dementia Friends.

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Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 800,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, more than half of whom have Alzheimer’s disease. It has been estimated that in less than ten years a million people will be living with dementia and this will reach 1.7m people by 2051.

Cllr Race said: “I am delighted that the council is supporting my charity by becoming Dementia Friends. People with dementia want to carry on going about their daily lives and feeling included in their local community, but they sometimes need a helping hand to do so.

“Anyone can become a Dementia Friend. It’s not about volunteering or fundraising. It involves learning a little bit about dementia and turning that understanding into action.

“This could be helping someone find the right bus or being patient in a till queue if someone with dementia is taking longer to pay. Every action counts.”

Jeremy Hughes, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “We are delighted that Cllr Race is giving his time to support Alzheimer’s Society.

“As a charity, we rely on the generosity of individuals like the mayor to help us continue our vital work.

“Please back Cllr Race and Bishop Auckland Town Council in their fundraising and awareness raising efforts so that Alzheimer's Society can continue leading the fight against dementia.”

The mayor will launch his fundraising campaign with an At Home with the Mayor tea and cream scone event at Bishop Auckland Town Hall on Wednesday, July 23, between 2pm and 3.30pm. Admission is £5, which includes refreshments.

Donations to the Cllr Race’s charity can be made by calling Bishop Auckland Town Council on 01388-609852.

Any businesses interested in becoming a Dementia Friend should also contact the town council, while individual residents should visit the Dementia Friends website for more information.