- Utilities assemble for roundtable event as sector aspires to be ever more dementia friendly
- Utilities pledge to become ever more dementia friendly
- Keynote speakers included Ofgem CEO, Dermot Nolan
Leading lights from utilities assembled with dementia campaigners for a roundtable event as the sector continues to work towards becoming more dementia friendly.
Working closely with its official charity Alzheimer’s Society, Cadent hosted the event, which was held this week at Prince Philip House in Central London and attended by Dermot Nolan, CEO of Ofgem as well as representatives from across the utility sector* (For a full list of attending organisations see notes to editors).
Delegates discussed how they could better understand the challenges faced by customers and employees affected by dementia and considered any current gaps in the sector to helping these groups. They also pooled ideas to develop a shared vision and pledged to take action as a sector to help ensure utilities become ever more dementia friendly.
Speakers included Sally Copley, Director of Policy, Campaigns and Partnerships, Alzheimer’s Society, Steve Hurrell, CEO of Cadent and Mr Nolan. Giving delegates a first-hand account of what it’s like to be affected by dementia was Hilary Doxford, a member of the 3 Nations Dementia Working Group, a group made up of people diagnosed with dementia working to make a difference.
Steve Hurrell said: “It was a great honour for Cadent to co-host this event with Alzheimer’s Society and I’m grateful to all those who came along.
“Utilities play a major part in people’s daily lives and Cadent believes that dementia awareness should be embedded by all utilities and I hope this roundtable event will help us journey together to work towards that happening.”
He added: “Since starting our partnership with Alzheimer’s Society in 2017 we’ve not only raised vitally needed funds for the charity but we’ve also gone to great lengths to ensure our employees from senior executives to our engineering workforce are Dementia Friends. Over 70 per cent of our workforce including the majority of our field engineers, who are out and about 24-7 maintaining safe and reliable gas supplies, are now dementia aware meaning they are now much better equipped to serve those affected by and living with dementia.
“Cadent is committed to working towards becoming more dementia friendly and we now need to create our next level of ambition as we enter our third year of partnership with Alzheimer’s Society. Our workforce already has plans and ideas of how we can do this. I want to be supportive of these and also to push the boundaries where necessary.”
Sally Copley, commented: “Utilities are an essential part of our daily lives as people need access to energy, water and communication. Those affected by and living with dementia face additional challenges and more needs to be done to help them.
“We’re committed to helping utilities become more dementia friendly in the way they operate and this event was a step in the right direction in making that happen.”
Since launching its partnership with Alzheimer’s Society in 2017, Cadent and its employees have raised over £115,000 for the charity. At the last count 3254 Cadent employees, approximately 72 per cent of its workforce, have completed Dementia Friends.
Cadent has also installed over 500 free lockable cooker valves to enable carers of people living with dementia to cook a hot meal for them, and then isolate the gas supply to cookers when they are not there.