Alzheimer’s Society launches guide for arts venues on how to be dementia-friendly

Gemma Jones. Photo: Sam Aronov/Shutterstock Gemma Jones. Photo: Sam Aronov/Shutterstock
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Actors Gemma Jones and Lesley Manville and Arts Council England chair Peter Bazalgette are among leading cultural figures backing a new guide aimed at helping arts organisations become more dementia-friendly.

The document, called Becoming a dementia-friendly arts venue: A practical guide, has been produced by the Alzheimer’s Society and has been created in collaboration with 19 arts organisations, including West Yorkshire Playhouse, the Society of London Theatre and the Sage Gateshead.

It offers advice for arts and cultural organisations on how to engage with people with dementia and their families and carers, how to make venues more dementia-friendly and accessible, and how to adjust programming to be more inclusive to those living with the illness.

It also includes contributions from Olivier award-winning actor Manville, and Bazalgette, who has written the forward.

Launching the guide, Bazalgette said: “Encouraging cultural spaces to share good practice with one another and giving them the confidence to put changes in place is really important. Even some of the smallest changes highlighted in this guide will make a huge difference to those living with dementia and their families and carers.”

The guide has been designed for theatres, concert halls, museums, galleries and other cultural organisations of all sizes to use.

Jones, whose mother suffered from dementia, described the booklet as a “step in the right direction” but said there was still a long way to go towards becoming a dementia-friendly society.

She added: “It’s really encouraging to see those people behind the scenes at our theatres, museums, cinemas and art galleries joining forces with Alzheimer’s Society to make those places accessible and welcoming to those affected by the condition.”

The booklet is available to download from the Alzheimer’s Society website.