INVERCLYDE cares. Inverclyde is compassionate.  We say this, we mean this, and we live this.

We declare that no-one should die alone, and we have people who work out the truth of that declaration.

We contribute to lovingly building Back Home boxes which ensure comfort for people after periods of disruption to their daily lives.

We roll out Naloxone training to try to make sure that no-one has to die from a drug overdose.

Inverclyde is now aiming to become a dementia-friendly community, and we should be very proud of this.

The SNP council group recently met with Bethan Dunsmore from Your Voice, who is supporting this aim.

She explained Dementia Friendly Inverclyde to us, and crucially helped us know what part we could play in supporting people who live with dementia across our community.

A Dementia Friendly Inverclyde is 'where the whole community is committed to working together and helping people living with dementia to remain a part of their community, where they feel included and involved and have choice and control in their daily lives.'

This is about challenging stigma and supporting empowerment. Crucially, it is about respecting the past, the present and also the future of people living with dementia.

We asked, for example, if there were things we could do differently as councillors – how we could communicate or organise our surgeries and other engagements to better serve and support people living with dementia and those who love them.

To become a Dementia Friendly Inverclyde, we are all being asked to treat others with respect and dignity. Awareness raising training is also available and I know that Bethan and the team are keen for groups and individuals to make use of this to develop knowledge and skills.

There are hands-on opportunities too. The lived and living experience within families is too valuable to lose, and so an advisory network has been established, so that experiences can be shared and learned from. Your experience – positive or negative – could help make things better for others in the future. That great experience on the bus last week. How do we make that the norm rather than the exception? The difficult decision that felt very lonely and gut-wrenching to make. How do we help people access support in making similar decisions knowing that other people understand?

I know individuals who have stepped into this space. They know what they have experienced, and they want to make things more comfortable for others. They have seen kindness within their own context, and they want to extend that to others. Thank you for sharing and thank you for bringing Inverclyde one step closer every day to being a Dementia Friendly Community.

After meeting with Bethan, I engaged in a little experiment. She had spoken to us about the initiative, so I made a point of mentioning Dementia Friendly Inverclyde around a number of the tables I sat at this week. Without exception, it became clear that someone round each and every table had been touched by dementia in some way. They loved someone who has or had dementia. Or they provided care, or they were navigating a family diagnosis and all that it means.

From our individual choices as people going about their day, to how we shape services and conduct business – this is about inclusion rather than exclusion, dignity rather than stigma.

It will be no surprise that the next thing I say is that we all have a part to play in reaching the aim of a Dementia Friendly Inverclyde.

Contact Bethan and the team at Your Voice to find out more about what you can do, or what the organisations you are involved with can do. 01475 728628 is the phone number and is the email address.

Inverclyde is compassionate. Inverclyde cares. Given my discussions from this week, it seems clear to me that this is something we care very much about.