Chairman Gerald Townson and vice chairman Rod Tickner presented a two-fold session which gave the staff of ACoRP the opportunity to understand more about dementia and become dementia friends, as well as placing this knowledge and understanding in a railway context.
There are three aspects to the project – raising awareness of dementia with rail staff, volunteers on the line and passengers; creating dementia-friendly station and train environments and providing opportunities for visits and leisure activities utilising the railway
Gerald reported: “we have made five successful trips this summer to Morecambe and the Forest of Bowland AONB for groups of people living with dementia and their carers from Keighley, Skipton and Bentham. We have learnt a great deal about the practical aspects of successfully supporting those living with dementia and we will be submitting a full report to ACoRP and Northern on how other CRPs can develop such an approach on their own lines.”
The Partnership’s hope is that this initiative, which has been developed on the Bentham Line, will be expanded to cover the entire Northern Network and be taken up CRPs across the United Kingdom.
Rod, who is also a founder member of Dementia Friendly Keighley, explained: “whilst many aspects of the rail industry are rule orientated, when supporting people living with dementia there needs an element of discretion in how matters such as revenue collection are enforced. Extra help is needed getting on and off trains and moving around stations. However, our experience has been one of excellent support from rail staff, ensuring as trouble-free journey as possible.”
In conclusion, Ian Davis, ACoRP Operations Officer, commented: “I wanted to say how greatly we appreciate today. You have been inspirational to the team and have delivered very important sessions about a subject (dementia) which affects us all personally or professionally.”
Dementia awareness sessions are being presented to front-line staff along the Bentham Line and more volunteers are being encouraged to support these valuable visits.