North East’s Largest Building Society Offers Dementia Friends Information Sessions Release Date: 5th February The North East’s largest building society is offering Dementia Friends Information Sessions to the public after an internal awareness session proved very popular. Every department within Newcastle Building Society’s head offices have taken part in the Dementia Friends Sessions, as well as every branch, which now includes at least one Dementia Friend. Following the delivery of around 20 sessions, Sheila Hodgson, branch support lead at Newcastle Building Society, offered to start providing Dementia Friends sessions to the public. Sheila said: “Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme is the biggest initiative to help change people’s perceptions of dementia. It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition. “As a Dementia Friends Champion, I regularly lead these sessions for our Society’s staff but I'm now looking to deliver the sessions to our customers and the general public. The sessions are interactive, easy to follow and have great stories to explain dementia and help people understand it. “The feedback from the sessions has been extremely positive, with colleagues in our branches letting us know they’ve been able to use the knowledge they gained when dealing with customers with dementia, to help enhance their visit to the branch.” Joe Kirwin, dementia friends officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “There are 35,000 people living with dementia in the North East, so to see Newcastle Building Society taking action through rolling out Dementia Friends sessions to their colleagues and the general public is really encouraging. “By committing to making all their colleagues Dementia Friends they will provide reassurance to those living with dementia that they can count on a safe and comfortable experience when visiting Newcastle Building Society” The sessions will take place either in Newcastle Building Society branches or in the community. Visit newcastle.co.uk for more information and fill out a form if you’re interested in becoming a Dementia Friend. You can also visit dementiafriends.org.uk.