As Dementia Action Week begins Cadent CEO Steve Hurrell discusses the quest to make utilities more dementia friendly


Last week Cadent was honoured to co-host a roundtable event with Alzheimer’s Society which looked at how we in the utilities sector can become more dementia-friendly.
We worked with our official charity Alzheimer’s Society to host the event and it was a pleasure to see representatives from so many utilities attend the event*  along with Ofgem CEO, Dermot Nolan,  Sally Copley, Director of Policy Campaigns and Partnerships, Alzheimer's Society and Hilary Doxford from the 3 Nations Dementia Working Group.
The figures on Alzheimer’s Society’s website make for stark reading. 
Currently there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, and these numbers are set to rise to over one million by 2025 and two million by 2051.
This will pose increasing challenges for our society including the utilities sector.
Utilities play a big part in people’s daily lives providing energy, water and communications.
 Managing and paying for these services can be especially challenging for those living with or affected by dementia, and we in the sector have a responsibility to work towards becoming as dementia friendly as possible.
Since launching our partnership with Alzheimer’s Society in 2017, we at Cadent have raised well over £115,000 to provide vitally needed funds for the charity.
However this is only part of the story we’ve also been taking action to embed dementia awareness across our workforce from senior executives to customer services and our engineering workforce with the Dementia Friends programme.
Our field engineers are out and about 24-7, 365 days a year,  helping to maintain safe and reliable gas supplies to 11million customers and dealing with over 84,000 gas escapes.
It’s inevitable that some of the customers our staff have dealings with will be affected by or living with dementia and therefore its imperative that we embed dementia awareness amongst staff.
At our most recent count 3254 of our employees, approximately 72 per cent of our workforce have been through the awareness programme to become Dementia Friends.  This includes the majority of our field force engineers, who interact a great deal with the public.
Cadent is committed to working towards being more dementia friendly and we believe that dementia awareness is a basic principle that should be embedded by all utility organisations.
It was encouraging to see so many utility representatives join us and Alzheimer’s Society for this week’s roundtable event.
It’s my hope that we can all journey together to ensure the sector becomes ever more dementia friendly.
Ultimately the more we do, the more we see.

*Utility companies also attending the event were Welsh Water, Northumbrian Water, Western Power, EDF Energy, Solarplicity, West and Wales Utilities, Thames Water, Severn Trent, Plusnet, United Utilities, Affinity Water, Northern Power Grid, SSEN (Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks), Northern Gas, SGN, Electricity North West and Eon along with The Consumer Council for Water, accounting specialists KPMG and Northern Ireland’s independent Utility Regulator.


Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

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