Today, I will be at the Dementia Care Awards where I will be presenting two awards that we are sponsoring. We have sponsored the Best Activity Co-ordinator Award for last four years now, and I am always heartened by the stories of those people whose innovation, compassion and enthusiasm are making a fundamental difference to those living with dementia each day.
This year will be the second year of the Outstanding Contribution by a Person Living with Dementia, an award we inaugurated last year. While the Dementia Care Awards are doing great work to recognise the efforts of professionals throughout the industry, I was concerned that the people actually living with dementia were missing from this awards process. It occurred to me that awards were being given to managers and co-ordinators, but that those people living with dementia were also doing fantastic work within their communities and they needed to be recognised for it.
Last year’s winner – Norms McNamara – is a perfect example of someone who is doing amazing things despite the challenges he lives with on a day-to-day basis. He is quite simply an amazing guy. He has had dementia for seven years now, but throughout that time has done an enormous amount for people with dementia. In Torbay, where he lives, the dementia community is one of the strongest I’ve seen, while he has worked with over 1000 local businesses to implement dementia training and awareness. Considering all the challenges that go along with his condition, he lives an incredibly full and contributing life.
I am sure this year’s winner will be someone who has equally made such a lasting and incredible difference, and I’m really proud that we initiated this award and were part of making it happen. I am looking forward to meeting and hearing from the nominees and the winner on the night.
So, good luck – and congratulations - to all the nominees for all the awards, I know every one of you deserves this recognition for all that you do.