How shopkeepers in South Tyneside are helping their customers with dementia

The Mayor Coun Ken Stephenson presents Dementia Awareness stickers to shopkeepers at Edinburgh Road, Jarrow.
The Mayor Coun Ken Stephenson presents Dementia Awareness stickers to shopkeepers at Edinburgh Road, Jarrow.

Shopkeepers in part of South Tyneside are supporting some of their most vulnerable customers by becoming Dementia Friends.

Retailers in Edinburgh Road, Jarrow, have signed up to support the national Dementia Friends initiative, which aims to increase awareness of dementia, while helping those living with the condition to remain part of their community for longer.

As part of the initiative, retail staff had training on what it means to be a dementia friend and how they can support people.

The Mayor of South Tyneside, Coun Ken Stephenson joined Dementia Friends Champion Mark Overton and the Bede ward councillors who organised the training, to present stickers for retailers to display in their shop windows.

The Mayor said: “As Dementia Friends, they are helping to support people living with dementia as they go about their daily lives within their own communities.

“Helping people who may struggle to pay for products or to find what they need goes a long way to supporting those living with dementia to have the confidence to continue shopping and remain independent for as long as possible.”

Staff on the council’s Let’s Talk Team have already become Dementia Friends and there are plans to extend the training to other front-line teams, including housing staff and parking attendants.

Retailers involved in the scheme include McColls, Community Corner and Edinburgh Road Pharmacy, along with Perth Green and Bilton Hall community associations, the Red Hackle Pub and local schools.

McColls manager Duncan Davidson, said the training has helped them to recognise customers with dementia.

He said: “As a local convenience store, we form good relationships with our customers, which is why we were keen to play our part in making a difference for customers who are living with dementia.”