Hackney Dementia Festival tea dance at Shoreditch Town Hall

How the London Borough of Hackney is celebrating living well with dementia

Yvonne Maxwell, Councillor for Hoxton West ward and Dementia Champion, shares the steps London’s Borough of Hackney is taking to become a dementia-friendly community.

There are around 1,300 people in London’s Borough of Hackney living with dementia. This is a figure that will continue to increase as time goes on.

As the rate of dementia increases, so too will demand for local dementia-friendly services.

That’s why I and fellow Councillors decided that action needed to be taken.

The Council is committed to making Hackney a dementia-friendly borough.

Putting people first

The Mayor of Hackney created my role to help bring a dementia-friendly Hackney to life.

To help us shape what a dementia-friendly Hackney looks like, we listened to local people affected by dementia.

We wanted to identify what needs to happen to make Hackney a great place to live.

We learned the importance of focusing on shopping, local healthcare services and transport.

Hackney Dementia Festival dancing

Hackney residents enjoyed classic ballroom dances including the foxtrot and the waltz

Becoming a dementia-friendly Borough

We are taking big steps towards becoming a dementia-friendly Borough.

All new London Borough of Hackney staff take part in Dementia Friends Information Sessions. Plus, all staff at the Council are going to have dementia awareness training.

We’re also working with local transport providers, encouraging them to become Dementia Friends.

This will help to ensure transport staff in Hackney understand the basics of dementia. They will be able to better support passengers with dementia, allowing them to travel safely.

We fund a post at the Alzheimer's Society who can lead work with the local community, businesses, leisure and more. This Dementia Friendly Community Coordinator is dedicated to ensuring these organisations understand how their services and communities can be dementia-friendly.

Hugh Callaghan and Adeline Masterson at Singing for the Brain event

Hugh Callaghan and Adeline Masterson from Hackney Wick at the largest ever Singing for the Brain event

Hackney is for everyone

As part of Dementia Action Week 2018, we ran our first Hackney Dementia Arts Festival.

Hundreds of people attended the Arts Festival from all over the Borough. It was brilliant to have so many organisations coming together.

Events took place in cinemas, libraries, leisure centres, and community halls within Hackney.

Gardening and craft workshops, art exhibitions, guided walks, outdoor board games, and dementia-friendly sing-along films were also enjoyed by people with dementia.

Singing for the Brain at London Aquatics Centre

The Singing for the Brain session was organised by Alzheimer’s Society in partnership with Hackney Council

Thank you for the music

The week-long Festival started with a tea dance. Hackney residents also took part in classic ballroom dances, including the foxtrot and the waltz.

The Festival included the largest Singing for the Brain session ever. There were over 350 people at the Aquatic Centre in the Olympic Park.

It was fantastic week of events that really helped to raise awareness and understanding of the condition. It made people with dementia feel included and involved in their community.

We are already planning our planning the festival for 2019!

Over 350 people attended the Singing for the Brain event

Over 350 people attended the Singing for the Brain event

On the horizon for Hackney

Hackney has made significant progress on making the Borough a great place to live – for everyone that lives there.

There is still more to do and we work every day to ensure people living with dementia are living the best life that they can.

We are providing schools and colleges with the information and tools needed to educate younger generations.

18 to 25-year-olds have volunteering opportunities at activity groups benefiting people living with dementia.

We encourage anyone to become a Dementia Friend, including Hackney residents.

We want everyone living with dementia to feel supported by their community.

Yvonne Maxwell with Mayor of Hackney

Mayor of Hackney, Phil Glanville, and Councillor Maxwell (second right) joined by other council members at Alzheimer’s Society Roadshow

With many thanks to Hackney Council for the photos from the Hackney Dementia Arts Festival. Follow Hackney Council on Twitter @hackneycouncil.

Get involved

Join the 2.5 million people that are helping to make the UK more dementia-friendly. Become a Dementia Friend.

Become a Dementia Friend More about communities
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