This week, May 14 to 20, marks Dementia Awareness Week 2017.

With dementia now the major health and social service challenge of our time, raising awareness of its impact is crucial.

I am proud to be supporting this year’s Dementia Awareness Week, alongside the Alzheimer’s Society Cymru, in my constituency of Torfaen and in the Assembly.

It’s vital that we develop public awareness of dementia, and through the 59,000 Dementia Friends and 40 Dementia Friendly-Communities already established in Wales, we are well on the road to achieving this.

I am very proud that in Torfaen, due to the hard work and dedication of Torfaen Council and partners, Torfaen was the second community in Wales to receive this status and everyone continues to work hard within the community to raise awareness and to help transform the lives of those affected.

In fact, I will be at Big Pit in Blaenavon this afternoon as they launch their first ever Dementia Friendly Underground Tour, designed in partnership with people living with dementia. I am delighted to have been invited to help celebrate this and so proud that Big Pit are continuing to blaze a trail in making our museum dementia friendly.

Hopefully this will help to pave the way for other attractions across Wales to follow suit with similar schemes.

It is also timely this week that the Welsh Government will be making a statement on Wales’ first ever Dementia Action Plan. Throughout the draft proposals I have argued that Wales needs an ambitious strategy if we are to make the real step-change that’s needed for the estimated 45,000 people living with dementia and their families in Wales.

I hope that the forthcoming plan will deliver ambitious diagnosis rates, the right access to quality post-diagnostic support and build on the importance of raising awareness. As chair of the Assembly’s Cross-Party Group on Dementia I will be pressing the Welsh Government to ensure that the Dementia Action Plan for Wales delivers a transformational, step-change in dementia support.

If you would like to find out more about Dementia Awareness Week, how to become a Dementia Friend or any further information, please contact the Alzheimer’s Society at or contact my office on 01495 740022.