How a Dementia Friend helped to inspire a major partnership
Living with dementia magazine explores the story behind a partnership that has raised nearly £400,000.
Celesio UK, the parent company of LloydsPharmacy, announced our partnership with them back in the summer of 2015.
The story begins earlier however, with employee Anna White's commitment to Dementia Friends, the movement to change perceptions about dementia.
Anna came across Dementia Friends a few years back while working in a previous role at Celesio UK.
'I was looking for services and conditions that we could support, so I went to a local Dementia Friends information session - it was massively eye-opening,' she says.
'I'd heard of dementia and knew it wasn't very nice, but I hadn't realised the impact it had on people and their families.'
'A simple thing, like being more patient with a person - you don't need a medical degree for that,' says Anna.
Anna also saw how small actions could make a big difference to someone's life.
'A simple thing, like being more patient with a person - you don't need a medical degree for that,' she says. 'That was huge for me, mind-blowing.'
Anna trained to become a Dementia Friends Champion and went on to deliver information sessions for colleagues, signing up a large number of Dementia Friends among them.
'People were so receptive to the sessions,' she says.
'The managing director at the time heard about it and invited me to deliver one to the board of directors, which was terrifying! But he was so supportive and enthusiastic - it was great.
'He wanted the whole business to become Dementia Friends.'
Seeing the benefit
The company's charity partnership with Alzheimer's Society has meant that, as well as creating 18,000 Dementia Friends, staff have helped raised over £390,000 to fight dementia. This included the company donating 1% of its Black Friday sales in 2016.
'Everyone loves it and is really involved. People can see the benefits and value,' says Anna.
LloydsPharmacy will continue fundraising for the Society to support research into the relationship between a person's speech patterns and dementia.
It is also looking to create dementia-friendly pharmacies, including providing training for staff in how best to support customers affected by dementia.
'People may be struggling with things that those working in our pharmacies can help with,' says Anna.
'Having this knowledge can make a big difference.'