Last year, 20,500 colleagues from across McKesson UK, which includes LloydsPharmacy, raised £102,950 to help fund vital research and services to support people with dementia.
During the company’s five-year partnership with Alzheimer’s Society, more than 28,000 colleagues have become Dementia Friends, a Memory Tree has been installed in the company’s head office in Coventry and teams have now raised over £672,000.
Toby Anderson, McKesson UK CEO, said: “I’m proud of our colleagues’ on-going efforts to support our charity partner and people living with dementia. Our pharmacy teams and delivery drivers interact with dementia patients every day, so it’s a cause that is close to many of our hearts. It was also inspiring to learn that even through these unprecedented times, our teams managed to raise over £15,000 in March.”
The money, which has been raised through corporate fundraising days, individual charity events and challenges, cake sales and fancy-dress activities, has previously been used to fund research projects. These have included research into how language and speech patterns can be used to diagnose dementia even earlier as well as investigating how to help people with dementia better manage diabetes.
McKesson UK fundraising money is now being allocated to pay for Dementia Advisers who provide support, information and guidance to people with dementia through Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Connect service.
Helen Payton, Dementia Adviser at Alzheimer’s Society said: “In this uncertain time, calls to our Dementia Connect support line have sky-rocketed since the start of March and demand for information and practical support for everyone touched by a dementia diagnosis is at an all-time high. Our services provide a lifeline to people who are bearing the brunt of coronavirus– ensuring that people with dementia are safe, feel supported and urgent needs are flagged. A lady I spoke with last week said, ‘you are like a fairy godmother – I am so grateful’. We simply could not continue running our vital services without continuous funding, which is why we are so grateful for the generosity of McKesson staff and supporters.”
Last year, LloydsPharmacy became the first pharmacy company to launch the Dementia Connect referral service. Seven pharmacies in the North West of England piloted the initiative which allows teams to refer patients directly to additional dementia support services via Alzheimer’s Society. As well as funding advisers, the healthcare provider is looking to roll this referral service out to more of its pharmacies in the next 12 months.
Toby continues: “We want to help more people like Helen support people struggling to cope with a recent diagnosis and the challenges of living with dementia. It’s so important they have that helping hand and person they can turn to when times are tough – it really does make such a big difference. Our pharmacy colleagues are that listening ear for a lot of elderly patients in their communities, so we understand how much of a lifeline it is. We want to be able to play a part in providing that support to as many of the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK as possible.”