Ensuring the voice of family carers is heard

Pictured above: Judy Williams, DCCN Chair, Ray Cregan, DCCN Committee Member, and Laura Reid, DCCN Vice-Chair, at the ASI Pre-Budget Submission launch on 30th June 2016.

The Alzheimer Society of Ireland faciltates and supports the Dementia Carers Campaign Network, an advocacy group for those who have experience caring for a loved one with dementia.

The Dementia Carers Campaign Network (DCCN) was formed in 2013. It aims to represent, raise awareness and campaign on the distinct needs of people who care for someone with dementia.

Who can join? The DCCN is open to anyone in the Republic of Ireland who has experience caring for someone with dementia. It is a national campaigning group, raising awareness of issues facing families affected by dementia and lobbying for policy change. 

What happens when I join? All members of the network are invited to attend four meetings a year. At these meetings the group discusses issues affecting people with dementia and their family carers. Members can choose to get involved in the network's activities in different ways. For example, some members may be interested in speaking publicly in the media about their experience, while others may be interested in meeting and lobbying politicians. There are lots of other opportunities for members to get involved in advocacy events and campaigns.

How is the DCCN structured? ASI faciltates and supports the DCCN, organising meetings and keeping members updated on campaigns and events. The DCCN has a core committee of 8-10 carers who meet before each network meeting to set the agenda. This committee takes responsibility for driving the work of the network forward.

Where are meetings held? Meetings are generally held in Dublin, but if you are unable to attend meetings you can still get involved in the network. Once you become a member you will receive a monthly advocacy update from ASI. This will update you on current and future campaigns and highlight ways you can get involved.

What kind of activities does the DCCN engage in? The network is very active. To date members have raised awareness at national conferences, spoken powerfully on radio and television and lobbied Government and senior officials on the needs of family carers. The DCCN is currently involved in monitoring the implementation of Ireland's first National Dementia Strategy. The network launched its first campaign in late 2015 on The Impact of Caring. You can learn more about this campaign here.

Why join the DCCN? The DCCN is an opportunity for you to use your voice to raise awareness of issues affecting people with dementia and their family carers. It is a great way to meet other people who are committed to making Ireland a better place for the 48,000 people living with dementia and 50,000 family carers.

How do I join? If you have experience caring for someone with dementia and are interested in campaigning to bring about change for families affected by dementia then we want to hear from you! To get more information or to join the DCCN please contact advocacy@alzheimer.ie

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