Running the Junior and Mini Great North Run to support Dementia friendly village in Darlington

Charlotte is running the Junior and Mini Great North Run on Saturday 10 September to raise money and awareness for dementia.

A small village in Darlington, where Charlotte’s family live, is making lots of changes to make the village dementia friendly.

Charlotte’s mother, Louise, spoke to us about the changes being made with the support of fundraising.

“We work with local businesses to help them provide a safer and more dementia friendly environment.

“Things like changing colours of chairs because lots of people with dementia are wary of colours, and having blinds over the mirrors at the community centre so we can pull them down when elderly people with dementia are there.

“We’ve worked with businesses to print out large signs with money on so that people with dementia can easily recognize money in shops.”

Although dementia can affect a person at any age, it’s much more common in people over the age of 65. Common symptoms of dementia are memory loss, confusion, and problems with speech and understanding. According to Dementia UK, by 2025, it has been estimated that over one million people in the UK will be diagnosed with dementia.

Charlotte’s school has been involving the children in these changes. “Someone went into the school to explain what dementia is, essentially to raise awareness.

“The students now have dementia friendly badges to show they’ve had the training. That’s when Charlotte decided she wanted to donate and run for this cause.”

One of Charlotte’s grandparents has been diagnosed with dementia and her Great Nanna (who is 93) also suffers from it. They are now in care homes. Louise told us about the impact of having a parent with dementia.

“It’s hard because they forget who we are. I’ve got two daughters, Charlotte and Lucy, and we’ve provided them with photographs of us for their room and we’ve made a photobook.

“It’s difficult for the children, because they’re used to baking and cooking and singing and dancing with them and now it’s hard because they don’t recognize them. It’s so sad.”

Charlotte runs for the Darlington Harriers and will be running the Junior and Mini Great North Run on Saturday 10 September to raise money for dementia.

“I think the overall message is we need to make people aware that there are people out there to help. Don’t be frightened to ask for advice and find somebody to help.”

With over 9,200 entries, the 2022 Junior and Mini Great North Run will see the highest number of young runners the event has ever seen.

To learn more about the event visit here.