The Older People’s Commissioner for Wales Sarah Rochia paid a surprise visit to Llanelli market today, Friday (Mar 19) to see for herself the work, which has taken place in transforming the market into the first dementia friendly market in Wales. Speaking to Llanelli Online she said:
When I heard that Llanelli Market had become the first dementia supportive market in Wales I had to come and see it for myself. Dementia affects all of us in one way or another and we need to make sure that people with dementia are able to do the things that matter to them. One of the things that matter is going out and about. As I walk round the market I have seen for myself the difference it has made. I have spoken to people who have told me how important the training has been and I have spoken to people who have told me how important it is that they can still feel able to come to their local market. Talking to the traders and people using the market I can see the difference it has made. It is a wonderful place to come to visit and wonderful to see that older people are not just included but so warmly welcomed here.
The commissioner was accompanied around the market by the leader of Carmarthenshire County Council, Emlyn Dole and Jane Tremlett Executive Board Member for Social Care and Health.
As well as a tour of the market the commissioner saw stall holders and council staff taking part in a dementia training exercise. Mayor of Llanelli Bill Thomas and Chairman of the Rural Council Steven Donoghue were also taking part in the training. Councillor Thomas said: It was very helpful. I have experienced this with other people. I learned a lot today. It is leading the way. We had the stall holders in the council chamber recently to thank them for giving their time to take the training.
Susan Morgan of Dementia Carmarthenshire said that the training had been integral in making the market dementia friendly. Marcia has had other enquiries from markets across West Wales.
Peter Sharp of Finale Fashions in the market was one of the first traders to take part in the training in 2016. He used to work for social services so he already had experience of working with elderly people. He said: “The shop has become dementia friendly. I was grateful for the training and I enjoyed taking part.”
Marcia Vale of the Alzheimers Society South West Wales said: It was very successful. We had people from all walks of life. It is all about different organisations working with county councils and the health board. I would love to see this rolled out across Wales. Llanelli has been the one who put their hands up and said that they want to do something. It has had a massive impact.