AN INNOVATIVE award has been introduced to reward businesses and the service sector for being customer friendly and understanding how to assist customers with dementia.
This is a new category in Rossendale Business Awards and the only one where nominations can only be made by customers.
“Dementia Friendly Communities is a national initiative but Rossendale has taken a lead and is way ahead of other areas,” said Chair of the local group Brian Topping.
“As well as training individuals and businesses to be Dementia Friends, we have also created champions to spread the word and training throughout the community.”
To further raise awareness, Dementia Friendly Rossendale has taken the training into large organisations including the police, Asda and Rossendale and Pendle Mountain Rescue.
Around 1,100 people in Rossendale are living with dementia with about 800 having been diagnosed.
But Brian said: “For each person living with the condition there are at least two or more people around them, either relatives or carers, who are also affected.
“We want to reduce the stigma and the myths and create a dementia friendly community; anything that does that has to be a positive thing.
“The signs can be simple like someone not properly understanding the change they have been given to something more complex. Sometimes there can be a denial with a partner covering up for another’s dementia.”
Emma Farrow, director of Farrow and Farrow Estate Agency, said: “We are delighted to be sponsoring a new award for Customer Friendly Business as customer service has always been at the core of our company values and we feel that many businesses around Rossendale could be better recognised for the outstanding customer service that they provide too.
“As the award is open to businesses of any size, from sole traders to larger companies throughout Rossendale, we are looking for customer nominations reflecting genuinely outstanding service and are looking forward to a good number of nominations.”
Nominees will be asked to demonstrate how they have improved customer service in the last year including having a clear understanding of how to best serve customers who may have dementia.
Anyone wanting to know more about becoming a Dementia Friend can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rossendale Business Awards is organised by Valley at Work, which connects local businesses. It celebrates local talent and enterprise and nominations for the 13 categories open on August 12.
The presentation night will be on November 11 at the Riverside in Whitworth.