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Charity's Dementia Lead is Recognised with Special Award

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The Head of Dementia Innovation at a national charity has been honoured with a prestigious award, given in memory of a dementia activist.

April Dobson is the 2016 recipient of the Hennell Award for Innovation and Excellence in Dementia Care, which is open to everyone who has attended a course facilitated by the Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) at the University of Worcester and celebrates the achievements of an individual or team who have shown their ability to implement positive change for people living with dementia.

The Award was created by June Hennell MBE in memory of her husband, Brian, a dementia activist who lived with the condition for four years before his death in 2013.

April Dobson is Head of Dementia Innovation at The Abbeyfield Society, and was selected for work to embed the principles of person-centred care into the Abbeyfield Society dementia strategy and the comprehensive practical steps that she has taken to implement this.

“Both I, and Abbeyfield, are delighted that our Breath of Fresh Air Project has been recognised by this wonderful award,” she said. “It was an honour to stand alongside the other entrants but regardless of who wins, this is really about the people living with dementia that our projects will help.

“I hope that the research from Breath of Fresh Air will go on to shape how people look at dementia care, and that we continue to help those living with the condition get outside, to get fresh air, and to remain as independent, happy and empowered as they can.”

The Judging Panel was led by June Hennell and also included David Moore, Head of Dementia at Hallmark Care Homes and Robbie Duncan. Robbie and June are part of the ADS Link Group whose members are people with lived experience of dementia who support students, professionals and researchers to understand the impact of dementia on people living with the condition, their families and friends and the professional staff who care for them.

Gina Dutton, Head of the Association for Dementia Studies at the University of Worcester, who was also on the panel said: “Yet again the calibre of the applications was very high and it was a privilege and a delight to have the opportunity to read about the wonderful things that learners who attend our training go back to their organisations and deliver.”

The judges also awarded one ‘Highly Commended’ to Michelle Brown, Dementia Navigator, Alzheimer’s Society and recent graduate of the University of Worcester, and four ‘Commended’ certificates to Denise Brown, Home Manager, Pinewood Residential Care Home; Lorna Butcher, Dementia Adviser at the Alzheimer’s Society; Rachel Hayden, Dementia Lead Nurse, Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust; and The Memory Plus team, Leicestershire County Council. All recipients have attended courses with the University’s ADS.