Cabinet trained as dementia friends

Published: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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Members of the Cabinet are being trained to be dementia friends as part of David Cameron’s drive to encourage volunteering.

The Prime Minister, who has already been trained as a dementia friend, said a nurse would attend the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting to pass on the skills necessary to help people with the condition.

Mr Cameron also announced that the Government would contribute up to £50,000 to ITV’s Text Santa charity appeal as he was interviewed as part of presenter Phillip Schofield’s 24-hour live TV marathon.

The PM said a nurse from St Thomas’ Hospital would train the Cabinet because it was important that people were made more aware of the problem of dementia.

“Particularly when loneliness is such an issue, when there are so many people living alone who don’t necessarily have families surviving or there to look after them, actually reaching out and helping other people is hugely important,” he said.

“I’ve already done that, but every member of the Cabinet, by the end of today, will be a trained dementia friend.

“That’s really important because it is such a challenge in our country, so many people having Alzheimer’s and other conditions. And, as well as the research we need to fund, as well as the improvements in the health service we need, we also need our communities to be more dementia-friendly so that everybody knows how to handle, how to help people with these conditions.”

Mr Cameron encouraged people to get involved in Giving Tuesday – a selfless alternative to the consumerist frenzies of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

“This was something that started in America – I think it was partly a reaction to the crazed internet shopping that takes place before Christmas.

“I think it’s a good moment to remember that, of course Christmas is about giving to family and friends, and buying gifts and the rest of it; but it’s a moment also to think of others and to encourage giving.”

The Prime Minister said his wife Samantha helped out at homeless organisation The Passage and also did some mentoring, something he would like to do more of in future.

“I think one of the best things people can do, if you have got some skills, is to just try and transfer those skills on to people who haven’t had all the opportunities and maybe the education that you have had.

“I think something politicians are quite good at, actually, is helping people with interview skills or CVs or just giving people a bit of confidence. Sam does a bit of that, I’ve done a bit in the past and hope to do a bit more in the future.”

In what was thought to be the first live TV interview from the Cabinet Room at 10 Downing Street, Mr Cameron said the UK should be “very proud” of its record as an “incredibly generous country”.

“Whether it’s Ebola in West Africa, floods on the other side of the world, problems here at home, people are incredibly generous and we should do everything we can to encourage that,” he said.

Schofield, who was handed a cup of coffee by the Prime Minister to help him through his 24-hour ordeal, joked that he was “in a bit of a takeover mood” as he took in his surroundings.

But Mr Cameron told him: “I’m staying right here, I’m not moving.”

Published: Tuesday 2nd December 2014 by The News Editor

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