Celesio UK celebrates reaching 20,000 Dementia Friends

Marking World Alzheimer’s Day, Celesio UK held a VIP event today, (Friday 21st September), at Coombe Abbey, Warwickshire, to celebrate reaching 20,000 Dementia Friends across its business. The special afternoon tea, attended by Celesio and Alzheimer’s Society CEOs, Toby Anderson and Jeremy Hughes CBE, recognised colleagues who have made a difference for those affected by dementia.

Celesio UK, which includes LloydsPharmacy and pharmaceutical wholesaler AAH, has been an official partner with Alzheimer’s Society since April 2015 with the objective of creating a dementia friendly business where every colleague is a Dementia Friend.

Celesio UK employees were asked to nominate their colleagues to attend the celebration who they felt deserved recognition – either for their fundraising activities or for supporting someone living with dementia. Those selected to attend the event heard Gerry Moylan talk about his experiences of being diagnosed with dementia and the challenges this represented, as well as the support he has received from his local LloydsPharmacy.

Toby Anderson, Celesio UK CEO, said: “I’m proud to say that so many of my colleagues are Dementia Friends – it’s an integral part of their training. It’s important for us, as a healthcare organisation, to have an understanding of such a debilitating disease that affects 850,000 people in the UK who are living with the condition. Whether it’s dispensing medication, delivering it to patients, conducting a medicines use review or providing support to a carer, our teams believe in inspiring more positive lives – they wear the forget-me-not logo to show their commitment.”

In a speech at the event, Gerry Moylan spoke fondly of his experience with his local LloydsPharmacy store: “We have a very small LloydsPharmacy that has been there since I was a child and it’s part of our community… they have been a very important part of my wellbeing, most importantly recognising me as a person again, not just somebody with a disease.”

Jeremy Hughes CBE, Alzheimer’s Society CEO says: “Dementia Friends learn more about what it is like to live with dementia and then turn that understanding into action. It’s really wonderful that through our partnership with Celesio UK, we have substantially increased awareness of the condition amongst people working in the community who have regular interactions with those affected by dementia. I am extremely grateful for the continued support of Celesio and together we are united against dementia.”

Celesio UK is also doing its part to help fund important research projects. Since the partnership with Alzheimer’s Society began, £0.5m has been raised by people who work for the company through events, challenges, cake sales and fancy dress activities.  Current Celesio-funded research includes: work into language changes in those living with dementia which could make diagnosis easier; and a project investigating how to help people with dementia better manage diabetes.