Kate Bunting, Arts & Libraries Service Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council - Winner: Dementia-friendly Service Award

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Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council's Arts and Libraries Service have been making significant inroads to increase the understanding of dementia in the community. Staff at the library have promoted books and resources available for people living with dementia along with their family and friends.

Staff involved in this initiative have worked with partners to host a series of Dementia Friends sessions, and hold regular events supported by a local Dementia Champion. These events have been arranged to give people living with dementia a chance to find out more about the disease, and to share their experiences.

Kate Bunting, on behalf of Solihull Council's Art and Libraries Service, said:

"As a library service people come to us for the obvious things, such as books and local information, not many people would speak of us in the same breath as dementia outreach work. But that’s essentially what we’ve been doing with this initiative. 

“There’s often a misconception that libraries are just about books, so this Dementia-friendly Service of the Year award really demonstrates that libraries offer a range of services that support and help people in different ways.  

“Health information and libraries is not a new phenomenon but having a specific spotlight on Dementia has been very rewarding for us and I’m sure the same can be said for those who’ve taken up the service. We’ve had really good feedback, which gives us a real sense of pride. Knowing that we’re helping people with dementia and those who are close to them is a real thrill.

“The books on prescription campaign and our extended range of health books vary in tone, detail and approach so there’s something for everyone.  If you have dementia your needs can be met, just as your family or careers can, and our staff are trained to give people all the help they need.  As a service it has been a real joy, it’s good to know we are doing something worthwhile that really does benefit others. 

“If more people become involved in the conversation around dementia it raises the level of understanding which can only be a positive thing. When we got involved in this project we had no idea it would be so popular. We’re just happy that those who need it are getting the help they need through the receiving of information in a range of formats.

“I speak on behalf of all the staff involved in this project when I say we’re absolutely thrilled that we won this award. Helping people is what we’re here for, and to improve their health too is priceless.”

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