Former DR WHO star Christopher Eccleston will be sharing the 'devastating' experiences of his father's Alzheimer's as he opens a special new hub for people living with dementia.
The Salford-born actor will open the new Salford Institute for Dementia 'Hub' on Wednesday 17 May as part of a series of events taking place at Salford University to mark Dementia Awareness Week (May 15-20).
The Hub aims to be an outreach centre for the public to access the latest research and ideas about living well with dementia.
The £300,000 centre at the University's Allerton Building, features a dementia friendly garden, a visitors' centre designed to look as much as possible like a home, and will be a base for the University's dementia associates, who include Joy Watson, founder of Dementia Friends.
The centre also contains a special kitchen built to demonstrate the latest dementia friendly designs, with a glass fronted fridge and cupboards as well as other design features such as colour cues to help people with dementia understand the environment.
People with dementia and their carers can visit the Hub to take part in activities such as gardening and dance and to get guidance from others who have experienced the condition, while researchers from across the University will also be able to work there.
Christopher, whose father Ronnie lived with Alzheimer's for 12 years before his death in 2012, believes we can all learn much from the bravery of people who live with Alzheimer's and dementia but that we are not paying enough attention: "It is a growing problem and we need families and carers to be educated, supported and understood," he has said.
The actor will also join a panel to discuss current dementia care alongside international expert Dr John Zeisel, former MP Hazel Blears and Professor Anthea Innes, Director of the Salford Institute for Dementia on Tuesday 16 May. The special event is being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the University, which is home to the Salford Institute of Dementia.
Also as part of Dementia Awareness Week (May 15-20), the University of Salford, is hosting the Alzheimer's Research UK North West Public Engagement Event on 17th May. The event is being held in collaboration with The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Liverpool and the University of Lancaster.
Academic researchers along with local dementia services and information providers will be putting on a range of interactive events aimed at helping the public understand the physical, psychological and social nature of dementia, whilst learning more about local dementia support networks and initiatives.
The event will also celebrate the successes of local dementia associated projects and includes laboratory tours, information points, performances, from a Gospel Choir and other family friendly activities, including Shetland ponies.
Professor Anthea Innes, Director of the Salford Institute for Dementia, said: "The new hub will put the University of Salford at the heart of the community and provide a real focal point for people living with dementia as well as their carers.
"The events taking place here to mark Dementia Awareness Week will provide a great opportunity for anyone who's been affected by dementia to find out about the work being done here in Salford, as well as across the North West and further afield, to help people living with the condition. We look forward to seeing as many members of public as possible on both days."