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29 June 2016

Charities team up to support dementia-friendly churches

Charities team up to support dementia-friendly churches

Alzheimer's Society and Alliance member Livability have launched a resource to help churches support those living with dementia.

Developing a Dementia-Friendly Church is a practical guide for churches and faith communities.

There are 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK and this number is set to increase to two million by 2051.

Rev Dr David Primrose, director of transforming communities in the Diocese of Lichfield, said:"We want churches to be at the heart of dementia-friendly communities, where the voices of those living with dementia, and those who care for them, are clearly heard.

"This publication adds much practical guidance on developing dementia-friendly churches, drawn from national expertise and local experience."

The new resource, which was informed by churches from across denominations, is part of an ongoing commitment by both organisations to make communities more inclusive to those living with dementia, along with their carers and families.

Dementia can be extremely demanding, physically, emotionally and spiritually, but churches
and other faith communities are being encouraged to create welcoming, inclusive and safe places for those living with dementia and their carers.

Developing a Dementia-Friendly Church describes what dementia is, its impact on people and their carers, friends and families and explores the ways in which churches can offer support.

David Richardson, dementia co-ordinator for Churches Together in Cumbria, said:"I welcome the publication of this Alzheimer's Society/Livability guide. It provides a wealth of information about dementia, and gives clear, specific and practical guidance as to how a local church can truly become dementia friendly.

"It stresses the need to engage with people with dementia and their carers and encourages partnership with others in the community. The guide is an antidote to despair and a spur to action. I commend it to you."

The resource has been informed by consultations and focus groups with church leaders and congregations and when following the guidance offered here, churches can offer a lifeline to those living with dementia and help them to stay connected to their spiritual and community life.

Livability is Christian disability and community engagement charity which has also produced a Dementia Friendly Churches Programme to provide training to help churches develop greater awareness of the impact of dementia, equipping each congregation to form a practical response.

The latest edition of idea magazine, the Alliance's bimonthly publication for supporters, explores issues affecting older people in the Church. Visit eauk.org/idea to read more.

As a member of the Evangelical Alliance, Livability is one of 600 organisations supported by the Alliance. We facilitate members' initiatives and campaigns and offer support to increase their impact. Member organisations have an opportunity to speak to the media on behalf of our membership, as we direct media and information enquiries to member organisations best placed to deal with them.

The Alliance also provides training for organisations on how to engage with the local government and media. If you would like your organisation to become a member of the Evangelical Alliance, you can find out more here.