READERS and supporters of the Yorkshire Post’s Christmas Appeal have raised thousands of pounds for the Alzheimer’s Society – which is facing a surge in demand for its services.
Donations and an auction drummed up more than £11,600 for the charity which saw calls to its National Dementia Helpline rise by a third after Christmas.
Many of the calls have been from worried people who may have seen relatives or friends for the first time in months and noticed changes in behaviour.
Currently only 48 per cent of people living with dementia have a diagnosis.
In a bid to raise public awareness of the condition and encourage more people to seek help Alzheimer’s Society is sending information leaflets to 9,000 GPs in the UK.
Alzheimer’s Society regional operations manager, Yorkshire & the Humber, Judith Gregory said: “There is often a misunderstanding about dementia and its symptoms, and people may delay seeking help when they are concerned about their memory problems. Spotting the signs of dementia as soon as they start and getting a diagnosis is vital. It allows people to access support and specialist services that they desperately need. It also means they can start to plan for their future, and that of their family.”
Money raised by the appeal will be spent on direct support for some of the 32,000 people living with dementia and their carers in the region.
Alzheimer’s Society regional operations director Helen Foster said: “Alzheimer’s Society in Yorkshire & the Humber is delighted that readers of the Yorkshire Post have been so generous in their support of the appeal. This is a fantastic total which we will be able invest in supporting people with dementia and their carers across the region and which will make a real difference to their lives.”
Leeds law firm Clarion sponsored the appeal and Harrogate-based Cicada Communications secured auction prizes and managed the appeal on behalf of the Yorkshire Post. The prizes included lunch with Dewsbury head teacher Jonny Mitchell, who achieved national fame on the Channel Four TV series Educating Yorkshire.
Clarion managing partner Mark Burns said: “On behalf of Clarion, I would like to thank everyone that bid so generously for the fabulous gifts featured in the Yorkshire Post Christmas Charity Appeal. The Alzheimer’s Society is an incredibly important organisation that requires funding to ensure it can continue to provide support and guidance to their service users and their families. Every penny raised will go towards the great work they do.”
The Alzheimer’s Society is appealing to people in Yorkshire to follow the example of Clarion and take part in Dementia Friends awareness sessions which are run by the charity and aim to help the public understand what it is like to live with the illness.
Cicada’s managing director Di Burton said: “Dementia is such an important issue for us all and has been put firmly, and quite rightly, at the top of the Government’s agenda. The Yorkshire Post is to be commended for recognising this and highlighting the effects of dementia on families while raising a substantial sum for the Alzheimer’s Society which is doing sterling work to support people with dementia in our region. A huge thank you goes to all our prize donors who gave so generously to the appeal which attracted considerable interest from bidders keen to support such an important and worthwhile cause.”