Ian Chennery is one of the Council’s champions for raising awareness of dementia best practice. He has been a driving force in the organisation of our efforts as part of Dementia Awareness Week. Let’s find out a bit more about him.

What is your current job role?

I am the Strategic Commissioning and Partnership Manager, working in the Integrated Commissioning team.

We work with vulnerable adults and older people, aiming to support people to live independently in their communities. I am the lead on work with dementia and extra care.

The ‘Integrated’ part of that means I work with other organisations, both hired and public, as well as carers and service users. The ‘Commissioning’ part means I make relevant purchases and enable others to do so, too.

How did you end up in your current role?

I started out doing youth work way back when. I then began teaching at primary level, before working with volunteers at a local community centre and youth clubs. This was centred on social care working with the voluntary sector and reviewing any grant applications that came in.

This is what got me interested in what work can be done to make a difference to people in their communities.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Making changes and improvements in how we interact with people living with dementia. Getting things working right for the people who need it the most.

What inspired you to get involved in the work around dementia awareness?

My interest in promoting awareness of dementia came from working with older people, and the services that support older people. It affects a lot of people and families; there’ll be around 3,500 people with dementia over 65 by 2020 in Derby.

There is a lot of fear and stigma and at the same time but I was inspired by the positive people working to make our community more dementia friendly.

What do you aim to achieve during Dementia Awareness Week?

Develop a Dementia Action Network. Friends, Champions, people who are generally interested… I want everyone to be able to communicate and share information about dementia.

Previously, we have just done things and then told staff afterwards. Now, I want to develop a partner network, so people can be a part of things as they happen. This way, we can get in the habit of working together. The more information we share amongst ourselves, the better our best practice awareness becomes and the stronger we can all stand united against dementia.

How can the public support or get involved with Dementia Awareness Week?

Come along to a Dementia Friend briefing! This will help people to develop their skillset when it comes to interacting with people living dementia and their carers. Also, familiarise themselves with the Dementia Words Matter campaign, and acting on the advice that this provides.

Of course, once the Dementia Action Network is set up, communicating with other Dementia Friends will be an easy way to show support. It’s easier to learn with the strength of a group behind you.

You can find out more about Dementia Awareness Week on our public website.