Valley Park formally recognised as a Dementia Friendly School

Valley Park School is very proud to confirm it has been formally recognised as a Dementia Friendly school and awarded the Dementia Friends Badge.

The award was given by Dementia Friendly Kent after students formed ‘the Decaf’ with the help of their teachers. Decaf is a Sixth Form group whose aim is to provide regular in-house events to support those within the local area who live with dementia.

So far Decaf has held two very successful events, with over 40 people living with dementia, and their carers, attending. Due to the last event being cancelled as a result of the current COVID-19 situation, care packages were created and have been delivered to those who previously attended. The boxes included poems written by students, and hand-made felt flowers and ceramics, as well as tea, shortbread and hand cream.

According to the Alzheimer's Society, there are over 850,000 people in the UK with dementia. One in 14 people over 65 will develop dementia, and the condition affects 1 in 6 people over 80. The number of people with dementia is increasing because people are living longer. It is a common misconception that it only effects the older generation, as children as young as 5 years old can also be impacted.

The Health and Social Care course offered at Valley Park, at Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5, teaches about living with dementia, and all students become trained as Dementia Friends through a Dementia Champion and have the opportunity to speak and have questions answered by a person living with Dementia.

Headteacher of Valley Park School, Margaret Hutchinson, said: “The community response to Decaf has been incredible, with heartfelt thanks being sent in for all our efforts and much praise for the students involved in the initiative. I’m very proud to say that all staff have now been trained as Dementia Friends and, as a school, we are delighted that we've been recognised as Dementia Friendly and awarded the Dementia Friends Badge. Well done to everyone involved!”

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