Students in Lincoln have won national awards for devoting their spare time to making the city more dementia friendly.
Lincoln received two Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Awards last week, both in recognition of a student-led project run at University of Lincoln Students’ Union.
The award ceremony in London, hosted by journalist and Loose Women panellist, Jane Moore, recognised, celebrated and promoted the inspirational achievements of those uniting to making a real difference to people living with dementia.
Winning the Inspiring Young Person of the Year award was Laura Taylor. Now a life science technician working at the University of Lincoln, Laura originally helped establish the Alzheimer’s Lincoln student-led project when at the end of her first year of studies.
She said “My grandmother was diagnosed with dementia in my first year at Lincoln University. I wanted to drop out so I could become a full-time carer for her and make sure she was okay, but my mum encouraged me to stay.
“Doing nothing wasn’t an option, and I felt I needed to help raise awareness and funds to support people like my grandmother going through this. I turned to my university for support and launched a group that other students who had an interest in dementia could join.
“We linked up with Alzheimer’s Society locally and used our spare time to fundraise and campaign for the charity. I’m now a part-time student doing a Masters degree and support Emma who is now leading the group."
Laura’s award celebrates an inspirational individual under the age of 25, whose attitude and positive approach is helping to create a dementia-friendly generation in order to support people living with dementia.
Laura added “To be nominated is great but to win is just a dream come true. I completely wasn’t expecting it.”
To add to the celebrations, the group walked away winning the Youth Organisation of the Year award. Emma Godden, who is in her final year at the University of Lincoln and who took over the group after Laura, has already helped 60 people across Lincoln to become Dementia Friends.
She said “I met Laura when I first started university and it was her passion for this subject that really inspired me to join the group. I was looking for some volunteering experience and this has been perfect.
“I trained to become a Dementia Friends Champion, allowing me to deliver Dementia Friends sessions to other students, groups and local businesses. As a group over the last three years, we’ve so far help more than 450 people become Dementia Friends across Lincoln.
“We also put on local events to help raise money for Alzheimer’s Society. To date since 2017/18 the group has raised over £4,000.
“We work hard in our spare time to help make a difference to those affected by dementia. I’m so proud to have collected this award on behalf of the group.”
The group’s award recognises a youth organisation or school that supports, involves or comprises of young people, 25 years and under, acting on dementia.
Paul Harrison, Alzheimer’s Society Area Manager for Lincolnshire, said “It is amazing to have both Laura and Emma representing Lincoln, showcasing what tremendous dementia-friendly work is going on.
“The level of nominations received this year was truly phenomenal and there were some exceptional stories heard at the awards ceremony. There are over 441 Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Communities across England, Wales and Northern Ireland ensuring people with dementia are empowered to live a life they want.”
For more information on Alzheimers Society, visit click here to visit their website.