THE announcement for a million volunteers to promote and be trained on 'Dementia Awareness' is welcome, but this is not new. Devon Senior Voice has been working on Dementia Awareness since 2008 when we were involved in forming the National Dementia Strategy.

Since that date we have worked with REPOD, (Rotarians Easing the Problems Of Dementia) and organised four Dementia Awareness Days, Barnstaple, Exmouth, Tiverton and Harberton (Totnes) and now are just coming to the close of planning our fifth, which takes place on Monday, December 17 at Tavistock Town Hall from 10am to 4pm with speakers including Angela Rippon and Norms McManara. This will be a special day, not just for having Angela Rippon there, but because the Tavistock Dementia Action Alliance, will be launched as the first step to making Tavistock a dementia-friendly town.

Devon also has the highest number of Memory Cafés of any county. In 2008 there were 12; two in Torbay; four in Plymouth and six in Devon, and there are still two in Torbay and four in Plymouth. But in Devon, there are now 38 largely due to the efforts of Devon Senior Voice and Rotary's REPOD providing venues for meetings and some small amounts of start up funding. Most of these are now self-funded; they are free and cater for both the person with dementia and their carer, a full list of these can be found at">

In 2008 there was no one place where you could get all the information about Dementia in Devon, a bit here, a bit there and along came David Light and Jim Delves, two carers who decided that no-one should go through the trauma of digging for dementia and along came the 'Dementia Carers' Pathway for Devon', a comprehensive bible on dementia for Devon.

Devon Senior Voice saw its importance and financed the first 7,000 copies and REPOD put it on their web site, it is now part of Devon's Dementia Strategy and available in doctors' surgeries, hospitals and some libraries.

If you want to know more about dementia and dementia-friendly towns and communities in Devon, come to Devon Senior Voice's fifth Dementia Awareness Day in Tavistock Town Hall on December 17 from 10am to 4pm, or look out for our future days in East Devon, Barnstaple and Crediton in 2013. Places are limited so to book a place contact Sally Lougher at Devon Senior Voice, PO Box 210, Harberton, Totnes, TQ9 9DA, telephone 01803 732678 or email [email protected]">[email protected]

Devon is way ahead of the rest of the country.

Ken Crawford

Devon Senior Voice Mental Health Lead