MORE organisations and businesses across Keighley are being urged to get involved in efforts to make the town increasingly dementia friendly.

The plea was issued by the Dementia Friendly Keighley charity as it staged its annual general meeting, an event delayed from last year.

At the meeting, Recognition Awards – which celebrate organisations working towards becoming dementia friendly – were presented.

Recipients were Keighley Association Women & Children’s Centre, Pennine Plus – in Cavendish Street, Keighley – and Springbank Care Home at Silsden.

In her acceptance speech, Naz Kazmi – of the women & children’s centre – spoke of the importance of working together to end the stigma that still surrounded dementia.

A Dementia Friendly Keighley spokesperson said: “In order to achieve the Recognition Award, we are asking organisations, businesses and community projects across Keighley to join us and pledge to become more dementia friendly – so that people with dementia, their carers and families can have better access to services and support and be more fully integrated into their communities.

“Many organisations have employees, customers or participants affected by dementia and many others provide services used by people with dementia.

“We believe that by engaging with and supporting more organisations to take-up the challenge and sign-up to this initiative, we will be able to make Keighley a more dementia friendly place to live and work.”

The meeting – at Central Hall – was attended by partners, supporters and volunteers from across the community. Numbers were limited to guard against the spread of Covid.

Trustees and staff spoke about the charity’s challenges – and achievements – during the past year.

Jan Smithies, chair of the trustees, introduced a showing of Scott Coulthard’s poignant film Dementia and Covid-19: Memories in Lockdown. It highlights the emotional impact of the pandemic on families living with dementia, as they were separated from loved ones and had to adapt to restrictions.

She then gave her 2020 report, which included a focus on the hiring of new staff – among them Dementia Friendly Keighley’s first manager, Julie Lintern – welcoming new trustees and the introduction of services such as the Time to Take; Aire befriending scheme.

Time to Take; Aire offers company and conversation for people who are housebound or have limited mobility, or may feel isolated and lonely and would benefit from mental stimulation.

The charity’s vision for the future was also outlined.

Tribute was paid to staff who had left during the previous year – including one of the charity’s founders, Maggie Marsden, who stepped down as a trustee.

She was acknowledged for all she’d done for the organisation and those living with dementia and was asked to become an honorary president in recognition of her dedication.

There was also praise for the team of staff and volunteers for the way they had adapted to continue offering help and support during the pandemic.

A ‘text to call back’ service was introduced, there were online groups and activities and a seven-days-a-week helpline to assist people during lockdown and beyond.

For further information about Dementia Friendly Keighley’s Recognition Awards and to put your business or community group forward for the next intake, visit or call 01535 602529.

The charity also welcomes new volunteers.

A wide range of roles is on offer, supporting people living with dementia and those who care for them.

Volunteers could help out with weekly activities or at the information and support centre. Or they could assist with the organisation’s befriending and respite service.

All Dementia Friendly Keighley volunteers are offered access to free training.