Richmond primary contributes to national dementia awareness campaign

From left, Year 5 class teacher Miss Poulter, dementia champion Angela Rippon and St Mary's head Katie Whitehead.

A Richmond primary school has contributed to a national drive to raise awareness of dementia.

St Mary’s RC Primary School’s work was recognised last month at the Prime Minister’s Conference on dementia in London.

For Dementia Awareness Week earlier this year St Mary’s pupils united with St Francis Xavier pupils to produce a film to tackle the stigma surrounding dementia and work to change the way that people think, talk and act about the condition.

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The film, which was produced as part of the school’s efforts to become a Dementia Friendly School, was shown at the conference.

St Mary’s headteacher Katie Whitehead also gave a talk about the school’s work.

She said: “Teaching young people about dementia will hopefully remove any fear of the illness or stigma in relation to a person who has the condition.

“If we can educate and help children at primary school age to understand dementia and to understand what it is like to live with dementia we are ensuring that our children build respect and equality for those affected by the condition and help them to explore their capacity for compassion and resilience.”

She added: “As a headteacher there is no better or more powerful way than to allow our future generation spread the message in their child friendly way.

“We at St Mary’s RC Primary school are very proud of our involvement in this project and our contribution to creating a dementia friendly generation.”

The school first became involved with delivering sessions within school in 2015 with the help of Linda Haggie, the services manager for the Alzheimer’s society in Hambleton and Richmondshire.

With the help of Linda, the sessions helped not only the children but the staff gain knowledge and understanding.

The workshops were child centred and interactive; family and friends fed back how the children were actively talking about their new learning and understanding in a positive and enthusiastic way.