We caught up with Marie Kerr from Dementia Action Teesside, a remarkable organisation changing the lives of those living with dementia, to shine a positive light on the fantastic work they do!
Can you tell me about your organisation?
Dementia Action Teesside is the commissioned lead service for Dementia Friendly Redcar & Cleveland and Dementia Friendly Middlesbrough.
Our mission is to make both areas as dementia friendly as possible so that those affected, can continue to lead positive and active lives through the support and understanding of their community. We ask local businesses to pledge their efforts to work towards being as dementia friendly as possible in three areas: ‘People, Processes and Places’. By taking small actions under each heading, together, we can make small changes that make huge differences to those living with dementia.
We also facilitate activities for those living with dementia across South Tees which includes dancing, singing, pub meals and sport!
We have a small but mighty team with Brian Rowcroft and Marie Kerr at the helm – usually out and about across South Tees visiting businesses or running activities. Both of us are qualified to deliver the Alzheimer Society Dementia Friends awareness sessions which help everyone learn more about how dementia can affect an individual.
What is the best thing about your organisation?
The best thing about our organisation is the commitment shown by local organisations – who are all willing to go the extra mile to assist those in our area living with dementia. Since our contract started in April 2022, we have managed to bring on board 40 businesses in Redcar and Cleveland to commit to doing something positive to support those living with dementia. The variety has been amazing – from solicitors to GP surgeries and from Tea Rooms to Sports Clubs. Everyone has played a part to improving the lives of others.
What is the proudest achievement in your career?
The proudest achievement in my career is finding employment in an area I am truly passionate about, both my parents lived with dementia, so I have always wanted to improve the lives of others with the condition but never thought I would be able to – not having a clinical or medical background. Through years of work in the community mixed with a little but of luck, I have found a job which fulfils my purpose, working with amazingly passionate people who are always willing to take on a challenge! If you are working in a job you love, this is indeed a proud achievement!
What are you looking forward to in the next 12 months?
We are looking forward to creating an even better system for businesses to be approved into the community with the development of a steering group. This will give those living with dementia a true, hands on, involvement with approving businesses who want to join the community in the future. We are also looking forward to bringing on new businesses and working with them to create new activities and venues for those living with dementia to enjoy.
What would you say is the best thing about Redcar and Cleveland?
The enthusiasm of local people to better their area comes across very strongly. There is a real sense of community and a desire to work together to make improvements. The diversity of businesses who have joined the dementia friendly community never ceases as well as the passion and drive from the local Dementia Steering Network will hopefully make Redcar and Cleveland one of the best places to live with dementia.
Be sure to check them out below!
Facebook: Dementia Action Teesside
Twitter: Dementia Action Teesside