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Mr Alzheimer’s Goes to School was a primary school campaign in Salford that provided a space for children, schools, families and communities to talk about dementia. 

The campaign revolved around the loveable character of Mr Alzheimer’s which was supplied to the school in the form of a teddy, in his own storybook, introduction postcards and fact sheets all carried around in a bright yellow branded bag.

Mr Alzheimer's Teddies

Joy Watson designed the Mr Alzheimer’s character when making teddies for her own granddaughters, he has a happy side and a sad side to help them to talk about ‘nannies dementia and how it left her feeling sometimes’.

Joy was employed by Age UK Salford in April 2016 to work on the Salford Inspire project, Joy’s passion to work with younger people resulted in a November meeting with St John’s C.E. Primary School with the bare bones of the school campaign.

The School Campaign was co-produced with pupils from St John’s and St Andrews C.E. Primary Schools over two years. With their input, Mr Alzheimer’s shrank, had his own diary, introduction postcards, a bag and eventually his own fully illustrated story book.

The campaign was launched on the 17th May 2019, after the team secured local funding to roll it out into more primary schools in Salford.  Amanda Barrell joined the team and collectively they started to build up momentum on the campaign with:

  • Dementia Sessions for School Councils and Teachers
  • Delivery of a Mr Alzheimer’s School Campaign Bag
  • Quarterly competitions for the best diary entry
  • Monthly Stitchers and Stuffers sessions to make the teddies
  • Regular promotion at events across the city

From 2019 to 2021 the Campaign worked with 200 students, 30 staff and parents and 15 schools. 

“We didn’t know there were children struggling with grandparents living at home with dementia, the workshops have made it ok to talk about Dementia and enabled us to support children better!”

The Campaign was just building up pace as the pandemic hit in 2020 and the team worked on a handbook for schools and then an online session.

To celebrate the end of this great project, Mr Alzheimer’s delivered 30 additional books to all schools in the campaign and the full team took part in ‘A Conversation with …Mr Alzheimer’s on the very last day of the project which took place on 30th June 2021.

You can watch the video of the A Conversation with Mr A below.

Download a copy of Mr Alzheimer's goes to Toyland