Worcester Warriors were celebrating success at a prestigious awards ceremony that took place in London on Thursday 22 November, hosted by Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador Angela Rippon.
The Gallagher Premiership outfit was named Dementia Friendly Organisation of the Year – Small & Medium for their pioneering efforts to ensure people affected by dementia remain active members of their community – and continue to enjoy the delights of rugby after a diagnosis.
The accolade recognises a range of ground-breaking dementia initiatives introduced at the Warriors’ Sixways home. These include a Tackling Dementia Sports Café, a safe place on matchdays for vulnerable people to watch the side in action and Warriors Disability and Inclusion Lead Simon Northcott’s appointment as the club’s first Dementia Friends Champion.
First team star Darren Barry has become the Warriors’ ambassador for Tackling Dementia and is one of 130 people at the club who have signed up to the Dementia Friends awareness programme alongside staff and young Warriors ambassadors.
Commenting on the award, Simon said: “We’re absolutely amazed to have won but I really should dedicate it to rugby fans who are affected by dementia.
“It’s great for everybody that we work with, both within in the club and externally.
“But more importantly it’s great for all the people who are living with dementia that turn up every week, because without them we wouldn’t be doing what we are doing so I want to say thanks to those guys.
“It’s massively significant for us to include people within the community that have developed dementia because these guys have all got brilliant back stories and rugby is one of them.”
There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK – a number set to rise to 1 million by 2021. Someone develops the condition every three minutes – but too many are facing it alone without adequate support. People with dementia have the right to live the life they want and continue to do the things they enjoy like watching rugby – but often they don’t feel included in their communities and face isolation.
This Alzheimer’s Society’s 2018 Dementia Friendly Awards aim to address this issue by recognising, celebrating and promoting the inspirational achievements of those uniting to make a real difference to people living with dementia by ensuring they feel included and involved in their community.
Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive Jeremy Hughes paid tribute to the Midlands club. He said:
“This year’s Awards celebrate individuals, organisations and communities which form part of a dementia movement that will transform the lives of people with dementia forever – by challenging misunderstandings, changing attitudes and inspiring action.
“There are already more than 2.7 million Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friends and over 400 Dementia Friendly Communities changing the way people think, talk and act about dementia so people affected feel included in their community.
“The Warriors’ success is testament to their tremendous dementia-friendly work and demonstrates how all of society can unite against dementia. Their sterling efforts to help people with dementia remain active members of their community just go to show Worcester Warriors are a class act on and off the field of play.”
Commenting on the Awards, Caroline Dinenage, Minister for Care, who attended the ceremony, said:
“All the finalists in this year’s Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Awards are doing their bit to improve the lives of people with dementia – from whole communities to inspiring young people and others who truly embody the principles of a Dementia Champion.
“I was hugely impressed by everyone’s creativity and resolve in ensuring people with dementia are not left behind and remain valued members of our communities.
“They set an inspiring example for us all and remind me that we cannot meet this Government’s ambition to make this the best country in the world to live with dementia without people like them.”
· Winners celebrating alongside the Warriors were: Handmade for Dementia (Trailblazer); Wolverhampton Dementia Action Alliance (Dementia Friendly Community – City or county); Blaby District Dementia Action Alliance (Dementia Friendly Community – Rural area, Village or Town); Oasis Academy, Isle of Sheppey (Youth Organisation); Daisy Coles (Inspiring Young Person); Sarah Williams-Martin (Dementia Friends Champion); Touchstone BME Dementia Service (Championing Diversity Award); Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust (Dementia Friendly Organisation – Large); Charlie Phillips (Outstanding Contribution).
More details of the Awards can be found at alzheimers.org.uk/dementiafriendlyawards