Association for Dementia Studies Celebrates Fifth Anniversary

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The University of Worcester’s Association for Dementia Studies (ADS) celebrated its fifth anniversary this week by honouring one of the men who played an instrumental role in its formation.

Eddie Clarke, Director of Adult and Community Services at Worcestershire County Council at the time of the ADS’s establishment in 2009, was made a Fellow of the University’s Institute of Health and Society at the event, which took place at the University of Worcester Arena.

Introducing Mr Clarke, the Head of the Institute, Dr Jan Quallington, said: “We have always relished the opportunity to work in close collaboration with those individuals and organisations who share, with us, a passion for progress, understanding and real inclusion.

“Eddie has been a vibrant contributor to our University community in recent years. He was instrumental in supporting the establishment of the Association for Dementia Studies. It was his initiative in recognising the value of ADS to the local health and social care economy that established the initial start-up funding from which the project has grown in the last five years.

“Eddie has made an outstanding contribution to public service in Worcestershire,” Dr Quallington continued. “He has also made a significant contribution to developments here at the University, both within the Institute of Health and Society, and across the wider institution.”

Since leaving the County Council last year, Eddie has set up his own consultancy, HASCC-UK, allowing him to focus on improving the application of the commission function within health and social care systems.

Other speakers at Wednesday’s celebration included the Head of the ADS, Professor Dawn Brooker; University of Worcester Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive, Professor David Green; inspirational dementia awareness campaigner Peter Ashley; and Joe Plomin, producer of the recent Panorama programme which explored the issue of the quality of care homes in this country.

The family of Brian Hennell, the late dementia activist who lived with the condition for four years before his death in 2013, were also present to launch the Hennell Award.

Brian’s wife June and grandchildren, James and Katryna, spoke movingly about his life and continuing his legacy through the award, which will – for the next five years – be presented to a student of an ADS course who has made a significant and innovative impact on helping people live well with dementia.

Professor Brooker added: “It was wonderful and very poignant to welcome Brian Hennell’s wife and grandchildren to our anniversary event. Brian was an inspirational figure who lived well with dementia and helped others to do so, and introducing this award, we will be honouring his legacy by highlighting and celebrating the work of our students who have a positive impact on those living with the condition.

Looking back on the previous five years, Professor Brooker continued: “The University of Worcester has been a fantastic home to the ADS. Compassion runs through the lifeblood of this University, and over the course of the next five years, we all remain committed to growing and flourishing whilst staying true to our value base.”