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We are a dementia friendly school.


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Bernard Gilpin Primary School

Hall Lane


Tyne & Wear


Tel: 0191 917 2999


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Bernard Gilpin Primary School has recently received a national award in the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Awards. Our school was the winner in the “Best educational initiative” category for our work in supporting people living with dementia and their carers in our local community. We attended the awards ceremony in London where we were presented with our award by Angela Rippon.

Click here to read the report in the Northern Echo.

Click here to read the article in the Sunderland Echo

Some of our Year 5 pupils made their first media appearance as they took part in a parliamentary style debate about dementia, which was chaired by Local MP Bridget Phillipson. We hope that our fantastic debating society,

who have also

visited a local


school, will go

from strength to



We were also visited  by Dr Ann Johnson and Sean O’Neill who both gave a moving account and insight as to what it means to live with dementia and how it is not just the patient that it affects.

These events are part of our commitment to being a ‘Dementia Friendly School’ of which we are one of only eight primary schools nationally.

As part of this initiative

we have submitted a

‘Singing for the Brain’

bid, which will be another

positive project to help our community.

Dementia Friends

Watch the Tyne Tees television coverage of the year 5 dementia debate:


MP visit and television appearance

Congratulations Dr Ann Johnson MBE

Our friend Ann Johnson was the worthy recipient of an MBE in the New Year's Honours List. Ann is a member of the Prime Minister’s Champion Group for Dementia Friendly Communities. and visited our school last month to talk to the children about the disease and take part in our Dementia debate. Well done Ann.




dr ann

Dementia Friends

"Dementia Friends aims to make everyday life better for people with dementia by changing the way the nation thinks, talks and acts. By 2015, we want there to be a million people with the know-how to help people with dementia feel understood and included in their community."

Dementia Awareness Week, May 2013

Our wonderful choir took part in a 'Singing for the Brain' session at Beamish Museum together with members of the Alzheimer's Society, Dementia sufferers and carers. Special guest at the event was former Newcastle United striker Joe Allon, who spoke about his personal experience of caring for a family member with dementia.

December 2013

The Living Room

On Tuesday 10th

December the Mayor of

Sunderland, Councillor

Bob Heron, opened 'The

Living Room' at Bernard

Gilpin Primary School.

He praised the school for

its groundbreaking efforts

to become dementia-friendly.

The city’s civic leader, whose mother died of dementia, spoke out as school headteacher Andrew Bainbridge prepared to open a special ‘Living Room’ that is aimed at people with dementia in the Houghton-le-Spring area.

The school is taking steps to be dementia-friendly as it is only one of 21 schools nationwide that is part of the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia which aims to revolutionise the way people think about the condition.

The ‘Living Room’ will play host to a series of activities aimed at helping people with dementia live well within their own communities.

From January the school’s ‘Living Room’ will play host to monthly Singing for the Brain sessions that aim to use music as a form of therapy for people with dementia. It will also stage a monthly Dementia Café, which aims to provide a relaxed environment for people with dementia and their carers to get together with Alzheimer’s Society staff in an informal setting.

There will be an inter-generation choir and dancing in the purpose-built ‘Living Room’ as the school gives a warm welcome to people with dementia and their carers.

Councillor Heron said: ‘I’m really proud to be chair of governors because the work they are doing to be dementia-friendly is fantastic.

‘The school is a real beacon and the pupils have really embraced this whole initiative with terrific enthusiasm. It is a really forward-thinking school and this shows that it wants to play a key role in the surrounding community. ‘There is a huge amount of great things going on at the school and the ‘Living Room’ is a result of a lot of hard work behind the scenes. It makes me proud to be the chair of governors at Bernard Gilpin School. It shows they really care about their community.’

The school’s Living Room project manager Fiona Bridle added: ‘We’ve been really impressed with the enthusiasm and interest our pupils have shown in dementia as a whole.‘The number of people who have dementia is on the rise but there is still a stigma attached to the condition and we all want to tackle it. It is more and more likely that families in our community will experience dementia and this is a way of increasing awareness and understanding. ‘The Living Room' is about giving something back to our community and telling the children what dementia is all about and how we can help people with dementia live well within the community.’

Alzheimer’s Society

operations manager Danielle

Hayes said: "Bernard Gilpin

really seems to be leading

by example when it comes to

making our communities

dementia-friendly.” ‘The

Living Room' is an excellent

project and we’re really excited about it opening up because it will be a great facility for the rising number of people in the Houghton-le-Spring area who have dementia and their carers.”

TV Cameras back again

Tyne Tees television sent the cameras to report on our new Living Room and the work we are doing in school relating to dementia. The choir performed before some special guests who joined in with a range of Christmas songs.

December 2013

December 2013

Living Room Launch - Tyne Tees Coverage

May 2014

Dementia Friendly Awards

Bernard Gilpin Primary School was one of the finalists in the inaugural Dementia Friendly Awards, organised by the Alzheimer's Society, that took place in London this week. Our school was 'Highly Commended' by the judges at the ceremony, hosted by Angela Rippon and attended by many including Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, who paid tribute to individuals and groups who have fought to change public attitudes towards the condition by helping people living with dementia and their carers in the community. More information can be found at:

dementia awards

Angela Rippon Visits School

Angela Rippon, newsreader and broadcaster, visited

Bernard Gilpin to see the school and find out more about

the Dementia Project. Staff had met her in London, in

May, when they received a highly commended National

Dementia Friendly Community Award at the inaugural

presentations by the Alzheimer's Society. Angela spent

the afternoon in The Living Room where she chatted with

staff, governors, children and people who regularly attend

the Tuesday afternoon activities. Angela said schools

like Bernard Gilpin are proving that intergenerational

projects really work when it comes to breaking down the barriers surrounding dementia, including the loneliness,

isolation and stigma.
















She said, "There are a lot of stages of dementia and

people who are affected can live well with the right help

and support." The visit was reported on Sky Channel 117

Made in Tyne and Wear, The Northern Echo and The

Sunderland Echo.

angela rippon

December 2014


February 2015

TES Article

Our groundbreaking dementia project has been the subject of an article in the Times Educational Supplement this month.  Please click on the TES logo to read the article in full.

"A new scheme bringing older people suffering from Alzheimer’s into schools is teaching both generations the power of community..."    Read more...

Sunderland Echo Article

Our dementia project has been featured once more in the Sunderland Echo.

You can read the article by clicking on the Sunderland Echo logo...





The Alzheimer's Society press release can be seen here.


4563598021 279500173

February 2015

June 2015

School choir help open day centre

Members of our school choir provided the musical entertainment at the opening of the Alzheimer’s Society Princess of Wales Centre in Sunderland. To read all about it, click here.

Dementia Awareness Week 2015

"Try something new, wear something blue" was the theme of this year's Dementia Awareness Week. To read the Sunderland Echo's report on our week of events and activities, please click here.

May 2015


September 2015

National Dementia Award Winners

Denise Lewis pops in for a dance...

Olympic Gold medalist, TV presenter and star of 'Strictly Come Dancing', Denise Lewis paid us a visit. Accompanied by the film crew and production team for the Great British Bake-off, Denise came to report on our Living with Dementia Project.

The film will be shown early next year on national television as part of Sports Relief 2016.

November 2015

Football memorabilia display

A superb collection of football memorabilia about former Sunderland star Arthur Wright was brought into the Living Room and shared with our dementia group and a selection of pupils from our football teams. Arthur's son Billy gave a unique insight into his father's career and shared some wonderful items including photos, caps, boots and programmes. This trip down memory lane was appreciated by everyone concerned.

Click here to visit the family website.

January 2016

Living Room Events Calendar 2020



Dementia Friends will be available each Tuesday from 1:00p.m. to 2:45p.m.


A range of different events and activities will be on offer each week.




November 2016


On 30th November 2016 Mrs Bainbridge, School Business Manager,  was the keynote speaker at the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friendly Awards in London. She had also been invited to be a guest judge of the awards in recognition for Bernard Gilpin Primary winning the Best Educational Initiative category in the 2015 awards and being Highly Commended in the awards in 2014. Mrs Bainbridge was introduced by Angela Rippon OBE and spoke to audience of over 300 people about the importance of Bernard Gilpin Primary winning the award and the positive impact this has had on the whole school community. She also spoke about the incredible interest this has generated in the dementia project at school  with many other schools and groups wanting to learn about it.

Living Room Events 2018

Living Room Events 2017