Observer Business Excellence Awards: Dementia Friends take centre stage at winners' event

Irwin Mitchell, which was the main sponsor for, and won an award at, theObserver Business Excellence Awards in Junehosted a winners event on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Steve Robards SR26091901
Irwin Mitchell, which was the main sponsor for, and won an award at, theObserver Business Excellence Awards in Junehosted a winners event on Wednesday afternoon. Photo: Steve Robards SR26091901

Three million people have now signed up to The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends programme, thanks to the help of Chichester solicitors.

Since 2017, solicitors from national law firm Irwin Mitchell’s Chichester office have been involved in the biggest initiative to change people’s perceptions of dementia.

Irwin Mitchell, which was the main sponsor for, and won an award at, the Observer Business Excellence Awards in June hosted a winners' event yesterday afternoon (Wednesday).

During the event, Nicola Hawkins and Nicola Turner, who are are both solicitors in Irwin Mitchell’s tax trust and estates team and are fully trained Dementia Friend Champions, ran a training session for colleagues, the public and other business partners.

Ms Turner revealed during the presentation that the number of Dementia Friends in the UK has recently hit its target of three million people.

Speaking afterwards, she said: "It was a privilege to do it [aid the presentation]. I have worked in the elderly and vulnerable support team for about a year.

"I deal with a lot of elderly clients so it is great that I can raise awareness to help us in our roles. It is a dementia friendly office. Going to see a lawyer can be very daunting, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable. I really enjoy helping the community."

Stephen Ireland, who has worked as a senior associate solicitor at the firm for 28 years said dementia has a 'relevance to us in the work that we do'.

He added: "We think they [Dementia Friends] are great and the work they do here is fantastic.

"They are a great organisation and we like to support them. We do a lot of related work here, particularly with the elderly and vulnerable.

"We do fundraising events throughout the year and try to help out."

Trust Compliance associate Tanya Wadeson said the firm raised £11,000 in 2018 alone.

On the awards, Mr Ireland added: "We were very pleased to be the main sponsor of the fantastic event. We are big supporters of business in the Chichester district.

"It was a great event and we very much enjoyed being a part of it.

"The awards have helped to raise our profile and to help support other businesses in Chichester and the district."