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SO: To Speak, the festival of words to be held in Southampton next month, has named Dementia Friendly Southampton as its charity partner. Event organiser Charlie Hislop explained that the festival’s theme, Changing Times, aligns with the increase in cases of the condition.

Aiming to be as inclusive as possible, SO: To Speak will provide training for its volunteers in keeping with the aims of Dementia Friendly Southampton.

Commenting on the partnership, Hislop said: “We are delighted to be working with Dementia Friendly Southampton and using the festival to raise awareness. We all need to understand dementia better, make room for people with dementia in society and support them to live the best life they can. Stories, reminiscence and laughter are so much of what SO: To Speak is about, so that is another connection with what Dementia Friendly Southampton is trying to achieve.”

There will be events in association with the charity, including ‘Alzheimer’s whodunnit’ play, Forget Me Not, and Tea With Terry – a showing of Terry Pratchett’s Reith Lecture written when the author was living with dementia.

The festival has also announced it will be able to incorporate donations to the charity. When a person buys a ticket to one of the associated events, they will given the opportunity to include a donation to the Dementia Friendly Society.

Dementia Friendly SouthamptonAlexandra Baker of Dementia Friendly Southampton commented: “The project is delighted to be partnered with Southampton Festivals to have this opportunity to raise awareness of dementia across the city, and the work the city is doing to become more dementia friendly.”

Dementia Friends is part of the Alzheimer’s Society, an initiative to change perceptions, aiming to transform the way the nation thinks, talks, and acts about the condition.

Dementia Friends has two goals: to increase the number of people who understand the condition, and to turn that understanding into action.

Dementia Friendly Southampton is a 12-month project funded by Southampton City Council. With activities including memory walks and stalls set up at events, they want to sign up 8,000 Southampton residents to their cause.

SO: To Speak will run from 19–29 October and comprises more than 60 events. The festival is part of the portfolio of Southampton Festivals.