The Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Support have set a joint target of making 500 new Dementia Friends in Wiltshire during Dementia Awareness Week.

The two charities will work with other groups and volunteers across the county from May18-24 to organise and publicise dozens of public Dementia Friends information sessions.

These will be in Salisbury, Chippenham, Trowbridge and Bradford on Avon. The free, one-hour sessions are open to the public and will give people the chance to become a Dementia Friend.

Dementia Friends was launched by the Alzheimer’s Society in February last year to help the public understand what it might be like to live with the condition and spur them to action. It forms part of a wider goal of creating communities across England where people with dementia feel included and involved.

Camilla Alfred, Dementia Friends regional support officer at Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘Less than half of us think we know enough about dementia.

“Dementia Friends is the perfect opportunity for the general public to improve their knowledge. It isn’t about creating experts, it’s about helping people understand a little bit more.

“For Dementia Awareness Week this year I encourage people from across Wiltshire’s communities to become more dementia aware and be inspired to take action to make Wiltshire a more dementia-friendly place.”

Anna Littlechild, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Support, said: ‘We will be running Dementia Friends sessions at a number of venues in Wiltshire during the week.

“We would like to hear from community groups, businesses of any size, shop staff or anyone who feels they would like to know more about dementia to visit and sign up for a public session.”

The charities are also looking for volunteers to help at events and hand out leaflets during Dementia Awareness Week.

To get involved people can contact the Alzheimer’s Society on 01179 672997 or Alzheimer’s Support on (01225) 776481.