Alzheimer's Society eyes business relationships after G8 boost

Dementia charity Alzheimer's Society is working to capitalise on new links with businesses forged at this week's G8 Summit, its director of external affairs has told PRWeek.

Alzheimer's Society director of external affairs Alison Cook
Alzheimer's Society director of external affairs Alison Cook

At the event in London yesterday the G8 nations committed to finding a cure or treatment for dementia by 2025 and the UK said it plans to double its annual research funding to £132 million by 2025.

The Alzheimer’s Society attended the summit and its director of external affairs Alison Cook said communication with businesses was one of the major new opportunities it opened up.

"We are starting to get businesses interested and we will work with them to raise awareness, which is a different strand of communications," she said. "The G8 summit was a real opportunity for us to engage with them."

The charty held a business breakfast to talk to business representatives about how dementia can affect them in terms of their employees and dealing with dementia sufferers as customers.

Public awareness also benefitted from the summit, she said, and the charity aims to increase participation in its Dementia Friends scheme, which recruits volunteers to help improve understanding of dementia among sufferers and the general public, with the aim of reaching one million friends across England by 2015.

In the run-up to the G8 meeting, the charity organised a "listening event" at the Department of Health for people with dementia, family members and caregivers to talk to policymakers and held an All-Party Parliamentary Group meeting.

The Alzheimer’s Society has been working closely with the Prime Minister’s office, going back to a scheme announced last year to bring improvements in awareness and care by 2015.

"That ends in 2015, and we wanted to influence the Prime Minister’s office to commit to a long-term plan," Cook said, adding that the organisation will aim to ensure sustained conversation going forward and has developed links with similar charities in other countries to increase international collaboration.

A key focus would be on research, she said, ensuring that government-funded research looks at care as well as laboratory research into cures and treatments.

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