Students bring community of Derby together to raise awareness of dementia at NHS Change Day

13 March 2015

Students from the University of Derby, dementia champions and campaigners, NHS staff and citizens joined together on Wednesday (March 11) for the East Midlands regional NHS Change Day conference.

170 people attended the conference which was held at the University's Kedleston Road site in Derby and organised by students within the College of Health and Social Care.

NHS Change Day is a grassroots movement of hundreds of thousands of healthcare workers, patients, carers, volunteers and members of the public. A series of events took place throughout the UK to raise awareness of dementia and its impact on sufferers and their loved ones.

Speakers at the University of Derby included: Joan Pons Laplana, NHS Nurse and Change Day 'Hubbie' (Change Day volunteer), Tommy Whitelaw, dementia carer and campaigner, and Andy Tysoe, a Clinical Nurse Specialist in dementia and nationally renowned speaker.

Tommy Whitelaw said of the day: "It's all about people. These are the next generation. It is really important to bring people together to talk about dementia. The relationships of the people we met and the stories they shared made for a wonderful day."

The day consisted of dementia awareness sessions, a street party and finished with a 'Marryoke', filmed and edited by the students.

Collette Vickers, who studies BSc (Hons) Adult Nursing at the University, was one of the many students who helped to organise the conference. She added: "The NHS Change Day was an inspirational and thought provoking day. Each of the speakers had the audience in laughter and tears, discussing their personal experiences with dementia.

NHS Change Day

"We hope that this event has inspired people to share their stories and encouraged those who work with dementia sufferers to listen to their patients' stories to make a difference. The nursing students involved in organising the day have each gained valuable experience for the future and are already asking what the next project will be."

David Foreman, Senior Lecturer in Nursing at the University helped the students organise the conference. He said: "The prospects of putting on an event that was open for anyone to attend was a challenge. It took commitment from the students to fit the planning of this event around their studies. They all worked hard throughout the day and demonstrated the true values of nursing.

"Our ambition was that if we could enable one person who attended to make a difference to the lives of the people they work with it would be a success, and it truly was."