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Northern Gas Networks (NGN), the gas distributer for the north of England, is giving all 1,500 colleagues the chance to become Dementia Friends this Dementia Awareness Week (14 to 20 May), supporting the Alzheimer’s Society initiative to transform the way the nation thinks, acts and talks about dementia.

NGN distributes gas to 2.7 million homes and businesses across the North East, Northern Cumbria and much of Yorkshire, to towns and cities including Newcastle, Sunderland, Carlisle, Hull, Leeds, Bradford and Huddersfield.

NGN’s Customer Care team and operational colleagues are all trained to recognise and understand vulnerability, taking into account customers’ individual circumstances and needs, and responding accordingly in order to minimise the impact of essential works across the network.

As part of NGN’s work to support its vulnerable customers, the gas distributer is now sharing the Dementia Friends Five Key Messages with all colleagues, both corporate and operational, through a series of informal awareness talks at depots and offices across the network.

These sessions, which will take place at Doxford Park in Sunderland, Carlisle, Leeds, Hull, Huddersfield, York and Bradford, will be delivered by colleagues who are already Dementia Friends Champions, and will run every day throughout Dementia Awareness Week.

Colleagues taking part in the drop-in sessions will then have the opportunity to sign up to become a Dementia Friend, turning understanding into action by sharing awareness of the disease and discovering small ways to help.

The five key Dementia Friends messages are…

  • Dementia is not a natural part of ageing
  • Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain
  • Dementia is not just about losing your memory –  it can affect thinking, communicating and doing everyday tasks
  • It’s possible to live well with dementia
  • There’s more to the person than the dementia

Tom Bell, NGN’s Head of Social Strategy said: “Dementia is a disease which is likely to impact us all in some way: many of us have personal experience of seeing relatives or close friends suffering with it, or are directly supporting a family member who has dementia.

“We don’t underestimate the complexity of vulnerability at NGN and we know there is always so much more that can be done. That’s why we continually look to better understand the diverse challenges faced by the communities that we serve and adapt our approach to provide the most effective support possible.

“Through our Dementia Friends sessions, NGN colleagues will learn more about what it’s like to live with dementia, and turn understanding into action – learning more about dementia and the small ways you can help. From telling friends about Dementia Friends to visiting someone you know living with dementia, every action counts.”