Excellence award for local dementia group

THE Canterbury Bankstown Dementia Alliance started as a small idea with a big vision – to create a dementia-friendly city and break down stigmas around the disease.

Three years on, it has supported thousands in the community, and has been recognised with a top honour at the NSW Local Government 2024 Excellence Awards.
The Alliance is a council-led initiative, co-convened with Western Sydney University and made up of 12 members from community organisations, dementia care groups and people with lived experience.
It has supported the development of several initiatives in the City including Memory Cafés, multilingual dementia awareness information sessions and a dementia risk reduction and wellbeing expo – all targeted at people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
The Alliance was awarded the ‘Community Development Award – population over 150,000’ for its work in supporting culturally and linguistically diverse people living with dementia and their carers.
Council’s Community Development Officer – Ageing, Sandra Loyola-Sandoval, accepted the award on behalf of the Alliance and said she was extremely humbled and proud.
“I could not believe that a tiny little idea, sparked from a conference I attended, has been able to support so many people in our community,” Ms Loyola-Sandoval said.
There’s approximately 8,000 people living with dementia in Canterbury Bankstown and those figures are expected to double by 2050 without a cure.
Shocked by the data, Ms Loyola-Sandoval got together with university cognitive neuroscientist, Dr Diana Karamacoska, and “we spoke about how great it would be to start an alliance in Canterbury Bankstown”.
“That’s how it all began,” she said.
Mayor Bilal El-Hayek said the Dementia Alliance was leading the way for culturally inclusive dementia research and initiatives and the “award is a testimony to all your hard work and advocacy”.