SPAR UK to train 7,000 team members to support people with dementia

March 5, 2020 IN THE CATEGORY: Community, Responsible retailing

SPAR UK is working with Alzheimer’s Society and the ACS (Association of Convenience Stores) so that over 7,000 colleagues can become ‘Dementia Friends’ – by learning more about dementia and ways to support those suffering from it.

Shopping is the favourite activity for many people with dementia, but they are often worried about going out and can feel isolated. SPAR stores are often located at the heart of communities, and many owners and colleagues live in the neighbourhood. This makes the convenience store group ideally placed to help support these vulnerable customers.

To become a Dementia Friend, SPAR staff complete a short online course available via Alzheimer’s Society and once completed, SPAR store staff wear a Dementia Friends badge to demonstrate they understand dementia.

“I am delighted that so many of our SPAR colleagues have committed to becoming Dementia Friends. With over 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, a huge number will live in the communities our stores serve”, commented Cath McIlwham, Head of CSR at SPAR UK.

“This is such a worthwhile campaign as our SPAR stores are ideally placed to make a real difference to the most vulnerable people in our society. This campaign enhances the great work our stores already do and the important role they play at the heart of communities all over the country”, she added.

“We are proud to be working with Alzheimer’s Society on this campaign and I would urge all retailers and their staff to get involved in order to better understand how they can support their customers and colleagues who are affected by dementia”, said ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said.

Tamsin Fraser, Head of Community Engagement at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “For many of the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, going to their friendly local shop is important social interaction and with two-thirds of people living with dementia living in their community, it’s likely that convenience store staff will encounter someone with the condition.”

“We’re delighted SPAR is showing it means business when it comes to dementia, by uniting with Alzheimer’s Society and joining over 480 dementia-friendly communities to ensure people with the condition feel understood and better included in their communities. We would urge other organisations to follow the example that SPAR has set by joining the Dementia Friends movement.”

There are a variety of resources available to help SPAR store assistants learn more about dementia and how to support those who are affected by it, whether they are family members, friends or customers.

Source: SPAR UK

Read more SPAR UK news here.


The UK became a member of SPAR in 1956 when a group of independent wholesalers was granted the SPAR licence by SPAR International. There are five regional partners in the UK with strategically placed Distribution Centres in each region. A central office, located in London, provides national marketing and buying services for the group and supports the development of the brand.

SPAR has led the convenience market in the UK for many years but has faced increasing competition. Always innovative, the five regional partners have continued to grow the brand. Throughout the UK, a combination of independently-owned licensed retailers and company-owned stores can be found, spanning forecourts, airports, train stations, city centres, and local neighbourhoods.