OLDER people’s champion Esther Rantzen has praised seven carers from East Lancashire for their ‘trailblazing’ work with dementia sufferers.

Care staff from Great Harwood, Rossendale, Burnley and Clitheroe were among the winners at the Lancashire Workforce Development Partnership (LWDP) awards, which were hosted by the TV presenter and founder of The Silver Line, a telephone advice service for older people.

The awards recognised pioneering approaches to dealing with dementia patients using the latest initiatives, such as taking patients back to their former place of work, using iPad applications and organising dance sessions.

One of the award winners was Lorraine Haslam, the deputy manager at Ashmeade Home For The Elderly in Burnley, who said: “We’ve been offered facilities at a local garden centre once a month and have set up a residents ‘Forget-me-not Club’.

“It will give them a chance to get out and do a bit of shopping or just walk round and look at the plants. We’re also looking at running themed days and opening them up to other homes in the area.”

The other winners from East Lancashire were Alison Hargreaves, of GS Social Care Solutions in Great Harwood; Anne Child, of Townfield and Coach House care agency in Great Harwood; Angela Bradshaw, of Willowbank Care Centre in Burnley; Beverley Spencer, of Hazelwood Homecare Ltd in Rawtenstall; Julie Openshaw from Rossendale Hospice and Laura Grasby, of Abbeyfield House in Clitheroe.

Mrs Rantzen, 73, the former That’s Life television show star, said: “It’s very important to celebrate best practice because that way you get the best staff attracted to this crucial work.

“What the award recipients know and what I know is that good care which offers people not only safety and security but also friendship and the chance to have some fun, transforms peoples’ lives not just for the people in the care homes but their families too. So it couldn’t be more important.”