THE Alzheimer’s Society are on the lookout for nominees who have improved the lives of those affected by dementia as they prepare to celebrate them in their annual awards.

The charity’s National Dementia Friendly Awards are now in their fourth year and celebrate people who are raising awareness, changing attitudes and challenging misunderstanding around the devastating condition.

It is estimated that one million people will be living with the condition by 2021.

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This year there are 13 awards up for grabs across 10 categories, including including Inspiring Individual, Innovation and Dementia Friends Champion.

The team are also introducing a new category to celebrate individual and group fundraiser of the year.

Last year’s winners included Ernie Malt, who became the driving force behind the launch of a dementia café in his village of Evenwood, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham.

Ernie, 70, who has vascular dementia, has also opened a sensory garden on land next to the café at the Cornerstone Christian Centre.

He received his award last year from Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt alongside Alzheimer’s Society ambassador Angela Ripon and the charity’s Chief Executive Jeremy Hughes.

Andrew Ball, the Alzheimer’s Society’s Senior Dementia Friendly Communities Officer for North East, said: “We’re keen to see a variety of entrants from County Durham as there’s some terrific dementia-friendly work taking place here throughout the year.

“Every day we hear examples of people in the community who’ve made a real difference to the lives of people with dementia. This year’s awards will give them the recognition they truly deserve.”

Anyone who has made a difference to the lives of people affected by dementia is encouraged to enter.

Industry experts and people affected by dementia will choose the winners.

Nominations close at midnight on Monday, August 21. To enter, search for Dementia Friendly Awards at alzheimers.org.uk

Winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on November 29 by Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador, Angela Rippon CBE.