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British Gas Employees Ready to Help Customers Living with Dementia this Winter

  • British Gas ramps up support across Britain for customers living with dementia this winter 
  • Company estimates one in every 100 of its customers is living alone with dementia 
  • More than 20,000 staff have completed dementia awareness sessions to become 'Dementia Friends' - as British Gas meets its pledge with the Alzheimer's Society to become a dementia-friendly organisation 
British Gas is working with the Alzheimer’s Society to encourage families, friends and carers of customers living with dementia across Wales to contact their energy company if they are concerned about the energy account of their loved ones this winter. 

British Gas, which serves 10 million homes, estimates that around 100,000 customers are living alone in their homes with dementia. This equates to one in every 100 households the company serves. However, British Gas believes many more customers are also supporting loved ones living with the condition. 

Working with the Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer Scotland, the company is rolling out a specialist 'Dementia Friends' programme to help support customers living with the condition this winter. 

As a result, more than 20,000 staff - two-thirds of the company's workforce - have now received the Dementia Friends awareness sessions. These include many of British Gas' 10,000 engineers and thousands of staff across 13 contact centres. 

The Dementia Friends programme helps staff to understand the challenges people with dementia may face - whether customers or their own friends and family - and how they can better support them. 

British Gas has worked with customers living with dementia to help tailor services, such as its Power of Attorney scheme, to be more dementia friendly. The company also offers customers requiring extra support the opportunity to join its Priority Services Register, which provides access to additional support services such as free gas safety checks for almost three million customers. 

Since June, British Gas has recorded around 3,000 calls from families, friends and carers of customers living with dementia to ask for them to be added to the Priority Services Register.  

Steve Crabb, Director responsible for Consumer Vulnerability at British Gas, said: "Our engineers and our people in contact centres are the first port of call for many of our customers. That’s why we’re delighted that 20,000 of our people have committed to becoming Dementia Friends.” 

“Reaching this important milestone in our work with the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Scotland is an important part of our commitment towards becoming a dementia-friendly organisation.” 

Rob Burley, Director of Campaigns and Partnerships at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Dementia is one of the greatest challenges we face in society today and is set to become the 21 century’s biggest killer. So we are delighted that British Gas is getting ready to help customers with dementia this winter by making a commitment to become more dementia-friendly. Becoming a dementia-friendly business is a socially responsible step and has added business benefits. We encourage all utility companies to work with us and do the same.” 

Alzheimer’s Society offers general advice to help support those living with dementia here.

Find out more about British Gas’ Priority Services Register here or call 0800 072 8625 to find out more about extra support available for loved ones this winter.

Notes to editors

Further information on British Gas' work around Dementia Friends 
  • Company team leaders, supervisors, and more than 50 Dementia Champions are rolling out the initiative directly to employees across sites.
  •  The contact centre based awareness sessions includes staff using telephone and email contact right through to social media and web-chat.
  •  As well as encouraging employees to become Dementia Friends, the company also supports its own employees with dementia or with caring responsibilities.
  •  Some employees are also working with local community groups to better support those living with dementia.
Notes to editors – Alzheimer’s Society:
  • Alzheimer's Society is the UK's leading dementia charity. We provide information and support, fund research, campaign to improve care and create lasting change for people affected by dementia in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  •  Dementia devastates lives. Alzheimer’s Society research shows that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia. By 2021, 1 million people will be living with the condition. This will soar to two million by 2051. 
  •  Dementia deaths are rising year on year and 225,000 will develop dementia this year - that’s one every three minutes. 
  •  Dementia costs the UK economy over £26 billion per year. This is the equivalent of more than £30,000 per person with dementia.
  •  Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends is the biggest ever social action movement to change perceptions of dementia – one in every 30 people in England, Northern Ireland and Wales are now involved. 
  •  A staggering two million people have now united against dementia by becoming Dementia Friends
  •  Dementia is the biggest health and social care crisis facing society today. Someone develops the condition every three minutes and too many are facing it alone. 
  •  Dementia Friends is changing the way people act, think and talk about the condition, supporting people with dementia to live the lives they want and deserve in their communities
  •  Alzheimer’s Society is urging society to unite against dementia and tackle stigma by becoming a Dementia Friend. Visit dementiafriends.org.uk to find out more
  •  Alzheimer’s Society provides a National Dementia Helpline, the number is 0300 222 11 22 or visit alzheimers.org.uk  
  •  Follow us on Twitter and Instagram @Alzheimerssoc
  •  Like us on Facebook
  •  Alzheimer’s Society YouTube channel www.youtube.com/AlzheimersSociety   

For more information contact:

Catrin Millar
Senior PR Manager
British Gas
01784 84 3000
catrin.millar@britishgas.co.uk

British Gas is Britain’s leading energy and services company, serving more than 10 million homes and over 400,000 businesses across the country. More than 8,000 highly-trained engineers guarantee the highest quality of service for our residential and business customers. We also provide a range of innovative offers and services including connected home Hive™ products, smart meters, and the online tradesman service, Local Heroes.


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