‘Dementia Friendly Hampshire: The Story So Far’ features works from Hampshire artists and writers, as well as contributions from people with dementia and their carers, from across the County. The exhibition, which runs until Wednesday 11th February, tells the story of how Hampshire is becoming a dementia friendly community and offers information on the condition and local support services. Located in at 91 Andover High Street, the free exhibition includes poetry from local writers as well specially commissioned sculptures and paintings from other talented Hampshire artists, all exploring the theme of dementia. Visitors to the event are also able to participate in the exhibition themselves by placing special tags on a tree at the centre of the display to demonstrate their support for local people with dementia.
In attendance at the official opening were Mayor of Test Valley Councillor Jan Lovell and Chief Executive of Andover Mind, Debra Ramchurn, who each placed a tag on the tree and spoke of the importance of creating dementia friendly communities. Councillor Lovell welcomed the exhibition to Andover and expressed her support for the Dementia Friendly Hampshire project, she commented: “The exhibition is both incredibly interesting and inspiring, it provides a great opportunity for local people to find out more about dementia from a range of perspectives. This is particularly important as the condition affects so many people. What makes the exhibition so special is the way in which it highlights not just the facts and figures but also the emotions and the personal stories behind the numbers. It also serves as testament to the tremendous amount of progress that has been made across the County in creating Dementia Friendly Communities.”
Dementia Friendly Hampshire is an initiative launched by Andover Mind, one of the County’s leading mental health and well-being charities, Hampshire County Council and the five NHS clinical commissioning groups. Thanks to the initiative, Hampshire is working hard to create inclusive environments for people affected by dementia. This means that there are dementia friendly high streets, shops, transport providers, leisure facilities, charities, support groups and organisations county-wide that have pledged to help those with the condition to live well and live independently. This is important because official figures state that, by 2030, the number of people living with dementia in Hampshire is set to rise by 70 per cent.
Debra Ramchurn, Chief Executive of Andover Mind, the event’s organisers, commented: “This exhibition is something we’ve been planning for a long time, so it was wonderful to finally be able to invite people to come and see it. We’re very proud of what the Dementia Friendly Hampshire campaign has achieved since its launch in 2013. There are currently eight Dementia Friendly High Streets with more on the way, and over 300 businesses signed up to the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance (HDAA). We wanted to do something to celebrate these milestones as well as continue to raise awareness of dementia in Hampshire and this exhibition gave us an excellent opportunity to do both. We’d like to thank everyone who supported us by coming to see the exhibition.”
To see the exhibition, simply visit the pop-up shop at 91 High Street, Andover between 4th – 11th February. If you’d like to find out more about the Dementia Friendly Hampshire Campaign or joining the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance visit: www.hants.gov.uk/dementiafriendly. If you can’t make the exhibition in Andover there will be opportunities to see it again as it travels across Hampshire this month.