Dementia friendly communities in Farnham and Surrey Heath

ContactDr Edward Wernick, GP, Dementia Lead, NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham CCG
Telephone08444 125 888
Address4 Downing Street, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7PA

This project aims to use the toolkit developed by Hampshire County Council to establish dementia friendly communities in Farnham and Surrey Heath.

In Surrey there are 15,000 people with dementia but there are less than 6,000 people with a formal diagnosis of dementia. This project will raise public awareness of both the prevalence and effects of dementia in local communities, challenging local businesses, leisure centres and theatres and cinemas to promote positive policies towards people with dementia and their carers which will enhance their lives and make them feel part of the community that they have lived, worked and contributed to for most of their lives. It is recognised that dementia is not a topic which is a regular feature of discussion either at dinner parties or in local pubs and clubs.

This project will include establishing memory aware high streets, developing help packs for customer facing staff in cinemas, leisure centres and a range of retail outlets such as B&Q and Wickes. We will use a train the trainer concept where we will target staff from a range of community facing businesses offering them training which they can bring back to their respective businesses. We will supply them with information leaflets on how to help customers with memory problems as well as supporting them to spot a person with dementia. Strategically we will work with the local chamber of commerce in both Farnham and Surrey Heath to launch this programme of awareness and promote sign up from local businesses. To ensure sustainability of awareness and training for existing and new staff in local businesses we will set up a network of trainers who will be encouraged to share good practice and discuss case studies and challenges.

We will use the expertise of the local dementia navigators to link with the training programmes ensuring courses reflect the needs and experiences of people with dementia and their carers who use our services. We believe that this project, coupled with the community quiz being developed by public health in Surrey, will raise awareness and lead to an increased number of people receiving a diagnosis. Having a diagnosis will ensure there is a treatment plan aligned to community support which will allow people with dementia and their carers to make informed choices and be supported to live in their own homes in the community for as long as they choose to do so. Creating an environment that supports this aim is the essence of the objective of this project.

Through the project we would want to establish ‘kite marks’ for shops, cinemas and leisure centre’s in Farnham and Camberley where they would display window stickers showing they were dementia friendly. This concept of kite marking is promoted by innovations in dementia and build on a successful project run in Somerset.

Statutory providers such as the borough councils of Surrey Heath and Farnham are signed up to supporting the project which is consistent with the aims and objective of the Surrey Dementia Strategy, jointly commissioned by NHS Surrey and Surrey County Council.


  1. Raising awareness of dementia with the general public and businesses in Farnham and Surrey Heath. This will be achieved through a public health promotion campaign called Community Quiz, complemented by bespoke training programmes for the general public and targeted staff in shops, theatres and leisure centre’s. We will also promote out DVD Living Well with Dementia which will be distributed free to members of the public.
  2. Creating a dementia action alliance in Farnham and Camberley with the local chamber of commerce that will work with local businesses to establish a ‘kite mark’ system that they can display in their premises showing they are dementia friendly.
  3. Listening to people with dementia and their carers to experience what are the barriers to living well in their own community. The project will refer to a peer support group of people with dementia working with the dementia navigators to ensure their needs are addressed.
  4. Promoting patient engagement programmes on dementia in GP surgeries in Farnham and Camberley that will ensure an increase in the diagnosis rate of dementia.
  5. Sharing experiences and promoting good practice, ensuring that the learning is shared and that the project remains an integral part of the implementation of the Surrey dementia strategy.

Anticipated outcomes

  • There will be an increase in the number of people receiving a diagnosis
  • There will be local information about dementia services in the Wellbeing Centres and a greater uptake of community services (e.g. day care, respite, tele care)
  • Staff in local businesses will be better trained in dementia awareness and therefore the experience of using these businesses will be improved.

Progress update

The public awareness campaign kicked off in September with bus adverts, local radio podcasts and editorials, a social media campaign and over 70,000 mythbuster flyers being distributed. The number of Champions signing up is growing, including local Farnham MP Jeremy Hunt. A leisure centre in Camberley has also signed up. Twelve bids to the Innovation Fund have so far been received with more expected. A tour of businesses in Bagshot and Farnham showed interest in the free training on offer. The training is in the process of being procured and is likely to begin being rolled out in the new year.