In 2023, we launched our Dementia Aware Community Pilot in Shirehampton. As Shirehampton calls itself a village, it became our first Dementia Aware Village.

More than half of the population in the UK knows someone who is living with dementia. In Bristol alone, there are 5000 people who have a diagnosis. This is expected to rise by a third by 2050.

Often, people living with dementia and their loved ones feel isolated, stigmatised, and misunderstood. This is often due to the lack of knowledge people have about the condition and the environment.

Simple adjustments and public awareness can make such a difference to so many. Bristol Dementia Action Alliance have been raising awareness about dementia for the past 10 years. In 2023, we started work on an exciting pilot project to make Shirehampton the first dementia aware village in Bristol.

Community leads, organisations and businesses were enthusiastic about the project and, with the support of volunteers and Community Marshals (contracted by Bristol City Council), they have visited retailers on the high street. Many retailers signed a pledge of commitment and have had a building audit to identify areas that could be changed such as signage and lighting.

In September 2023, Lisa, who is the project lead said, ‘The response from the high street has been incredible. We still have a way to go but already the changes are happening. If we can make a community dementia aware, we make it more inclusive for everyone and as a pilot, we are taking the learning from it to be able to roll it out to other communities in Bristol’.

Darren Jones MP has supported the project from the beginning and attended the first Memory café which was set up because of the pilot project. It’s a space for those living with dementia and their carers to meet others on the same journey and enjoy a couple of hours doing something fun.

Lisa concluded, ‘We do what we do because it’s the right thing to do and people living with dementia deserve to be respected and included in their community’.

If you want to support the project or find out how you can become a dementia aware community, contact Lisa:

Following a successful pilot in Shirehampton, we wonderfully received funding from St Monica Trust to allow us to expand this grassroots initiative to new areas by bringing together key stakeholders to create a dementia aware community in Avonmouth.
“Our aim is to make Bristol a dementia aware city by educating the communities of Bristol about dementia and supporting those living with the disease. We need communities to support people living with dementia, giving them the choice to live within their communities for as long as they wish to. People with dementia and their carers can feel isolated and we aim to reduce this.”