Lenny White, who has pioneered mobile barbering for men with dementia, has been honoured for his Outstanding Contribution the Northern Ireland Dementia Friendly Awards, held at the Europa Hotel on Tuesday 28 November.
The Awards recognise people, organisations, companies, and towns leading the way in taking action to ensure that people living with dementia are included in their community.
Lenny’s Dementia Friendly Mobile Barber pop-up shop has become a familiar presence in care home, hospitals and day centres across Northern Ireland, bringing old-time barbering back. With years of experience working in dementia care, Lenny noticed that while there was a lot of pampering for women, there wasn’t much for men. He trained as a professional barber in 2016, and while continuing to work in a care home became a Dementia Friend in February 2017.
Lenny creates the barber shop experience with the small things that can be taken for granted, but which bring back memories and a sense of value to men living with dementia, like a juke box stocked with old-time favourite tunes, soap-and-brush shaves, hot towels, and familiar colognes including lemon, mint and lavender. He sets up shop with vintage pictures and signs and a rotating barber pole.
Lenny said: “I’m overwhelmed to get this award. This award is for all the men who I provide this service to everyday. It’s a pleasure to provide the[dementia friendly] barber service and make their lives happier.”
Dementia devastates lives. By 2021, 1 million people will be living with dementia. The Alzheimer’s Society Northern Ireland Dementia Friendly awards 2017 unite communities and individuals across the UK to recognise, celebrate and promote the inspirational achievements of those making a real difference to people living with dementia.
Bernadine McCrory, Country Director (Northern Ireland) for Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“Lenny’s innovative dementia friendly barbering stood out as an outstanding contribution to improving the lives of men with dementia. The level of nominations received this year was truly phenomenal and there were some exceptional stories heard at the awards ceremony. All the finalists and winners at the Dementia Friendly Awards have demonstrated how we can unite against dementia and support those affected by the condition.”
This year there were 12 awards across 10 categories, with awards for Dementia Friendly Organisation, Community, Partnership, Dementia Friends Champion, Innovation, Young person’s contribution and Inspiring Individual, as well as brand new categories to celebrate individual and group fundraiser of the year, and journalist of the year. The full list of winners for the different categories can be found online at Alzheimers.org.uk