Dementia is a subject very close to my heart so I am thrilled that Yorkshire Dance is committed to raising awareness of the condition through all aspects of its work. Yorkshire Dance’s last annual conference Dance Includes” in October 2015 included a session in the field of dance and dementia led by dancer and Dance Movement Psychotherapist, Dr Richard Coaten. Richard also facilitated an extremely popular session as part of our Dance Transports regional training programme in January 2016 which offered teachers, dance artists and anyone involved in the delivery of dance an opportunity to gain a valuable insight into dance and dementia.
As Facilities Manager at Yorkshire Dance, I am particularly interested in how we can make the Yorkshire Dance building as Dementia-friendly as possible. Factors that can be considered include clarity of signage around the building, whether the entrance is clear, whether certain areas need to be clutter free, and so on. I hope that over the next few months we can not only make some of these changes in our building but also develop the understanding across all departments in the organisation.
When reading up on the subject, I came across the following quote in Becoming a dementia-friendly arts venue: A practical guide:
“Arts Council England believes in great art for everyone and this means that we should all be able to engage with the arts and be creative throughout our lifetime. There are 850,000 people in the UK living with dementia and, for many of them, the arts will be fundamental to enabling them to live well with their condition.” - Sir Peter Bazalgette Chair, Arts Council England.
This really hit home and I immediately signed up to become a Dementia Friend. Being a Dementia Friend is about learning about what it’s like to live with dementia and then turning your understanding into action. You can sign up to be a Dementia Friend too by visiting www.dementiafriends.org.uk and attending an information session in your local area.
I decided to go one step further and become a Dementia Friends Champion. Dementia Champions are volunteers who are inducted in delivering Dementia Friends Information sessions, providing the budding Friends with information about the impact of Dementia and encouraging them to make a positive difference to those living with Dementia. I will be facilitating my first Dementia Friends Information Session for the full staff team here at Yorkshire Dance during the next few weeks. I am looking forward to seeing all Yorkshire Dance staff members wearing their Dementia Friends badges after this and hope that for those living with Dementia and their carers who visit Yorkshire Dance, it will be reassuring to know that we are all here to offer our support.
Lauren Clarke – Facilities Manager