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New Lord Mayor wants dementia friendly streets

Last of Liverpool's Lib Dem three amigos sworn in

Written by . Published on June 12th 2014.

New Lord Mayor wants dementia friendly streets

LIVERPOOL'S new Lord Mayor, Erica Kemp, has set herself a massive task in the coming year - to have a “dementia friend” in every road and street in the city.

More people are already living with senile dementia as life-expectancy increases, prompting the ambitious challenge from one of the city's last remaining Lib Dem councillors.

Cllr Kemp takes over the council chamber hot seat from Gary Millar who during his high profile year in office used social media to spread the work of his office and the city.

And Cllr Kemp is only too aware of the pros and cons of instant fame on platforms such as youtube.

“I’ve had the mayoral robes shortened to ensure I don’t trip over as I walk up a flight of stairs, with the thought of me falling flat on my face becoming viral,” said Cllr Kemp.

Becoming Liverpool’s first citizen has reduced the size of the Lib Dem group in the council chamber by a third!

As the Lord Mayor is traditionally apolitical during his or her year of office, the Leader of the Lib Dem group – the Lord Mayor’s hubby, Cllr Richard Kemp – has just one shoulder to lean on, Woolton’s Cllr Barbara Mace.

And being a lifelong teacher, the Lord Mayor says she will be using classroom tactics to keep the class of 2014 in order.

“I already have a collection of things to say, borrowed from my profession; things like, ‘the bell is for my benefit, not for yours’ and ‘I’m prepared to sit here all night to conclude this debate if I need to’.”

What about a challenge to one of the council chamber’s most prolific orators, Cllr Richard Kemp?

“Oh that one is easy. I will just say to him: ‘We can discuss this at home later’.

Cllr Kemp arrived in Liverpool in 1962 with her widowed mother, shortly after the death of her father in Southend-on-Sea.

Her teaching took her into a specialist area, schools for children with special needs or behavioural problems, a job she says she adored.

Does the Lord Mayor think the dynamics of the council chamber will be different with Labour members occupying  all but 10 of the 90 seats?

I’ve been in politics long enough to know and respect the decisions of the electorate,” answered Cllr Kemp. 

Erica Kemp and consort daughter RachelErica Kemp and consort daughter Rachel

In her inaugural speech to councillors last night she said: “It is an honour and a privilege to be asked to take on the role of Lord Mayor of Liverpool. I am passionate and proud of this wonderful city and its rich mixture of people. I am hoping that this position will enable me to meet with as many of the wonderful Liverpudlians who make this city so special.”

Cllr Kemp, along with consort daughter Rachel, will make up the first all-female mayoral team since 1997. 

“I am also delighted that my younger daughter, Rachel, will be joining me as Lady Mayoress on the momentous journey,” she told the chamber. “I aim to not only raise money for some very worthy causes, but also to engage the local community in volunteering and making a difference to the area in which they live.” 

Rachel is currently working towards a PhD at Manchester University, studying end-of-life care in dementia patients. 

At last night’s meeting, the new Lord Mayor threw down a challenge to all councillors to help recruit dementia friends in every street in their wards. 

Rachel will also be “dementia champion” during the year, with one of her first tasks to teach all Town Hall staff to be dementia-friendly. 

The Lord Mayor’s  nominated charities are The Alzheimer’s Society, The County of Merseyside Branch of The Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA), Teenage Cancer Trust and The Reader Organisation.

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Mike NearyJune 13th 2014.

Dementia friendly; fantastic. Having lost a parent to dementia, there is no question that with increased awareness it can be far more manageable in all bar its final stages. Great initiative.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

Sounds very nice etc, but there's nothing regarding what will be DONE? Superficial gesture or an action that will make a difference?

Mike NearyJune 13th 2014.

I guess with less than 24 hrs since its announcement, waiting and seeing would seem the only option. The third to last paragraph reads "the new Lord Mayor threw down a challenge to all councillors to help recruit dementia friends in every street in their wards. " which seems like a pretty clear undertaking.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

How can that be clear? What constitutes a "friend in every street"? And surely they have some concept beyond a few glib phrases, otherwise they've just trotted this out with no idea beyond PC gesturing. Maybe the friends will be on constant vigilance in the front room, looking out for signs of dementia and dashing out with a simperingly sympathetic look and offer of.....friendliness?

Mike NearyJune 13th 2014.

I was just responding positively to a situation that infiltrated around 10 years of my life. Didn't mean to start a war. To answer your question ('how can that be clear?') all I meant was that it looked like a pretty clear undertaking. Wether or not it comes to fruition, time will tell. There is no evidence either way so I was taking the statement at face value which is no more or less reliable than hypothesising in the contrary. Sorry if that irked you anonymous. That's all from me, it's not a topic I see worth exploring any further. We have each made our points. I wish you well and hope that dementia never enters your life.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Cherry BJune 13th 2014.

I think you make a very good point Mike, but it is a huge ambition. It would be good to think that people could just be "nice to be nice". There are so many people affected by dementia and it is a ticking timebomb. Good on her.

AnonymousJune 13th 2014.

Mike, it has entered my life and various things have helped deal with it. But this sounds like it never will help anyone in any real sense. Have a good weekend

Mike NearyJune 13th 2014.

Excuse the typo - that's 'whether' of course.

Mike NearyJune 13th 2014.

It's better than nothing - and trust me, by 'nothing' I include years of trying to get to the bottom of a very obvious problem.

scouse690June 14th 2014.

Mike, it is a very huge task, but I do believe that it could be achievable, with the support of the council....and local hospitals, too! The major task is support for people in their own homes. Support for "family carers" too". I do not "live" with mum, but I am struggling to do everything, day to day. Dementia is the biggest worry....

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