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Alzheimer's Society, with Julia Laverick, Services Manager for Tees Valley.

YOU might not know it but sterling work is being done by trailblazing young people here on Teesside to create our first dementia-friendly generation.

Pupils and teachers in Billingham are setting a tremendous example for their peers, and I feel their enthusiasm can inspire an entire generation to change attitudes towards dementia.

The spotlight was rightly turned on Billingham South Community Primary School by the Gazette last week, because children and staff are taking huge steps towards dementiafriendly.

They are reducing the stigma that means many people with dementia experience, loneliness and social exclusion, by officially becoming Stockton Borough's first borough school to join the Dementia Friends campaign which is spearheaded by the Alzheimer's Society.

It means those pupils are growing up with the knowledge and understanding necessary to get rid of taboos attached to dementia, as well as the social isolation and loneliness that rub salt into wounds for families affected by the condition.

They clearly want to transform the lives of people who have dementia and their carers, thus truly enabling them to live well with the condition within their own communities here on Teesside.

The fact that the school has really embraced the Dementia Friends initiative is great for the kids, great for the school and great for the community and makes me optimistic about the future for people who are living with dementia.

It is win-win situation. The whole of Billingham should be proud of their efforts, and I am certainly proud to be associated with the school as an Alzheimer's Society employee.

I'd love every education institution in the region to follow this shining beacon by embracing the Dementia Friends movement.

Finally, I would like to point teachers and pupils to a new section on the Alzheimer's Society website which is aimed at teachers, youth group leaders, young people and parents. This will boost efforts to create a dementia-friendly generation but it would appear that Billingham Community Primary School is already leading the way.

Anyone who would like further information about Alzheimer's Society services on Teesside should contact our Middlesbrough-based team on 01642 442030.

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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Jul 23, 2015
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