Pleckgate High School has become a ‘Dementia Friendly’ school.

One Voice Blackburn, through Baiter Sehat and the Aviva Fund, have created 279 Dementia Friends through students and staff at Pleckgate High School.

Students as young as 12 became Dementia Friends and pledged to raise awareness of the condition to others.

Head Girl Aliza Ebrahim said: “I knew dementia was a disease, my great-grandmother had dementia, but I didn’t know a lot about it and how it affects the lives of people.

“I learnt a lot about how to help people with dementia, how to talk to people and be generally nice.”

Deputy Head Girl Fatima Ali said: “I knew dementia affected people’s memory but I didn’t realise it affects emotions and feelings as well.  It was very educational.”

The Dementia Friends Programme, designed by the Alzheimer’s Society, is the biggest ever initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia.  It aims to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about the condition.

One Voice Blackburn has created a total of 1650 Dementia Friends in the last five years.  It is looking to create 1000 new Dementia Friends by the end of the year in an initiative supported by the Aviva Fund.

A Dementia Friend is somebody that learns about dementia so they can help their community.

Dementia Friends help by raising awareness and understanding so that people living with dementia can continue to live in the way they want.

Dementia Friends help people living with dementia by taking actions – from visiting someone you know with dementia to being more patient in a shop queue.

Dementia Friends can also get involved with things like volunteering, campaigning or wearing a badge to raise awareness.

Dementia Friends Champion and Baiter Sehat (Better Health) Lead for One Voice Nazia Khan said: “It is so important to raise awareness and improve services for people with dementia.  Schools are a great place to learn how to change the lives of people living with dementia.

“This training ensures young people can help people with dementia feel understood, valued and are able to contribute to society.  We are fully committed to making our community a more dementia friendly generation and we encourage anybody who is interested to get involved.”

Head of RE Mrs Savage said: “It has been such a worthwhile couple of days for both the students and staff who took part in the sessions.  We all now have a greater awareness of what dementia is and how to support those in our community who may be living with dementia.”