Staff at a New Malden care home are raising awareness about dementia with a walk across the O2 Arena.

Rahim Nurmohamed from The White House (TWH) Nursing Home and Chris Da Costa from Malden Leisure Centre will take part in the walk, which is also seeking to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society, next Tuesday (May 21).

The pair's fundraising forms just a single strand of a wider effort among the New Malden community to stand up to dementia ahead of Dementia Action / Awareness Week, which runs from Monday May 20-Sunday May 26.

Speaking to the Surrey Comet, Mr Nurmohamed described how important challenging stigma around dementia was for communities.

"This illness is increasing and in the coming years there will be more and more people facing dementia. The walk is really just to put dementia on the map.

"There are more and more people coming into elderly care suffering from this disease which is quite debilitating — not just for that person but for the whole family, for everyone around them," Nurmohamed said.

He added that the team at TWH wanted to increase outreach work in the community in order to challenge some of the stigma that can surround dementia.

Mr Nurmohamed said: "What we're trying to do in a very small way is just to raise a little bit more awareness; for the family members who visit the home but also friends and their wider family too.

"We want to get the word out there. It shouldn't be a taboo word. People are being diagnosed with dementia all the time and we're trying to get ahead of the game on this."

According to the team behind TWH plan for outreach on dementia, the response from the New Malden community has been excellent — and this was reflected in the fundraising.

"People have been very generous. However much they chip in it's all hard-earned money and we're just really thankful for people's generosity.

"We only out the fundraising info out there two days ago and already we've hit over 50 per cent of our (£500) target. If we exceed that, it all goes to the cause so all the better," Mr Nurmohamed said.

Activity Co-ordinator at TWH, Liz Da Costa, echoed Mr Nurmohamed's belief that awareness-raising was of paramount importance in how society approaches dementia as she described the home's own efforts to combat assumptions about the disease.

"It's about enabling the community to understand a bit about being more dementia-friendly.

"I take some of our residents to the shops but it can often be a confusing experience for them so if the community more aware that can really help, because people can be frightened by it sometimes," Ms Da Costa said.

She added that simple things, such as making sure public places have a more quiet space for dementia sufferers to go if necessary, can make a massive difference.

Further suggested actions local spaces and businesses could consider are using bright colours in public areas, starting conversations with sufferers and running workshops for staff and volunteers in the workplace.

Simple and effective responses to dementia such as this are something TWH team are eager to promote in New Malden and beyond.

Ms Da Costa said: "We've reached out to the Leisure Centres to help raise some money and awareness, it's all part of New Malden and it's a very worthwhile cause.

"The week is all about the community in New Malden and it's been a really great coming together."

To donate to Rahim Nurmohamed and Chris Da Costa's fundraising walk across the O2, head to: