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The Malthouse care home in Gillingham has been named as a dementia ‘safe haven’ where the police or members of the public can take someone who is found in a confused state in a public place.

The decision by Dorset Police makes The Malthouse the first such safe haven in North Dorset and one of the few in the county as a whole. The other three are in Sherborne, Wareham, and Corfe Mullen.

Earlier this week Gillingham’s mayor Barry Von Clemens presented The Malthouse’s manager, Claire Stredwick with the award from the Dorset Police.

Councillor Von Clemns said: ‘Once again Gillingham’s fabulous community spirit has proven itself with our first safe haven here in the town. It has only been possible for us to reach this point as a Dementia friendly town through the amazing support of our community ,businesses and our wonderful champions.’

In statement Dorset Police state they are working in partnership with Dementia Friendly Communities, to establish havens, a local initiative which aims to make people with dementia and related conditions safe in their communities and homes.

Police officers or police community support officers (PCSOs), or members of the public, can now escort the individual to the safe haven and ensure they receive the appropriate care from staff there.  The officer will only leave when all parties agree that it is in the individual’s best interest to do so.

A safe haven is a preferred alternative to a police station for someone who in a public place and in a state of confusion to be taken to while they wait for a responsible person to be found or for means to get home.

Supporters of the scheme say it is a more pleasant, homely and caring environment with people who are trained and have a good understanding of dementia and can therefore give them the appropriate support during that period.

Anne Kings, Dementia Friends Champion from Gillingham, said: ‘This is something which we have been trying to establish for the last three years; now, this new Dorset Police initiative which allows the police to work alongside the Dementia Friendly Communities, has allowed this to happen. It’s surprising how many people are found walking or lost each week, so knowing where to take someone must be something which everyone needs to know.’

The Malthouse, Gillingham can be contacted on 01747 822667

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