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Sean Pontin, Jersey Alzheimer's Society: Five things I would change about Jersey

Sean Pontin, Jersey Alzheimer's Society: Five things I would change about Jersey

Friday 19 April 2019

Sean Pontin, Jersey Alzheimer's Society: Five things I would change about Jersey

His career has taken him from tennis coaching, to social work, helping refugees, and supporting those with dementia... So it's no surprise that care is the central pillar in Sean Pontin's five suggested improvements to the island.

A qualified social worker, Mr Pontin as led a number of care services in Jersey and in the UK, as well as spending time supporting refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos.

Sean also has a long relationship with tennis as a player, coach and referee. Each year, he can be found in SW19, where he has worked at the Wimbledon Championships for over 30 years.

He's best known, however, as the Chief Executive Officer at Jersey Alzheimer’s Association (JAA), which offers advice and support to anyone living with dementia.

For Express, he put pen to paper to reflect on five things he would change in the island...

 1. A more dementia-friendly island

This is our main focus at JAA and we are working hard to raise the profile of dementia as a group of conditions and help people understand what it is, who it affects and how everyone can make a difference.

In reality it needn’t be a hard thing, maybe pop in to one of our roadshows or arrange for us to come and talk to a group at work? Learn some basics from one of our Dementia Friends sessions and take time to consider what others around you might need support with! Easy!

2. Invest, invest, invest...

Jersey is a powerful financial centre but I'm not talking about investing money. I want to see more investment in a strategy for the future and more than anything investment in people. At all levels, in all walks of life. But we urgently need to see better understanding and investment in the care sector especially.

care nurse social worker old person vulnerable

Pictured: Health and social care workers should be given the respect they deserve.

Over the next 30 years we will see the number of people living with dementia more than double and we should worry that the sector just isn’t ready. Let's work together to give all parts of the health and social care sector the respect it deserves and reward those in it with the credit, wages and treatment that reflect how much we value the work they do. 

3. Slow down, look around, be grateful

Ok everyone, phone down, shut your laptop and look around, and yes I'm the worst! I'm not sure we give ourselves enough time to really recognise and appreciate how lucky we are and how amazing Jersey is and can be. 

Yes ok, everything is relative. Sometimes we might not feel very lucky, we would all like more security, a pay rise or a bigger house etc... but in real terms we really are lucky in comparison to many others and many other places. We have a good health service, we have great schools but sometimes I wonder if we really notice or indeed would ever be happy.

bouley Bay

Pictured: "I'm not sure we give ourselves enough time to really recognise and appreciate how lucky we are and how amazing Jersey is and can be."

I look around Jersey and smile at the different people from different countries and different cultures we all live and work with. Funny then that we say that Jersey is too full and we don’t have the space or money to welcome people who don’t come here ready-made or may be living in a refugee camp somewhere.

Maybe we need to watch out ... some of these people may brings skills we want or turn out to make a really useful contribution to the island! 

4. Get active, enjoy sport!

Keeping mentally and physically active is such a huge part of keeping well and sport plays a massive part in that. That could be competitive or recreational sport it doesn't matter. It teaches us so many things that help in life – playing by the rules, winning and losing. Even in dementia care there is now good evidence that enjoying a healthy life can help reduce risks. 


Pictured: We would all gain at being more active.

Jersey is proud of sporting success and how great would it be to see us become a world class centre for sports tourism? We have made a great start with the Super League Triathlon maybe one day with a rejuvenated Fort Regent we could host even more amazing events to the island?

5. Are we doing as much as we can for the planet?

Over recent years Jersey has made great strides to raise awareness about the impact of our modern ‘throw away’ lives on the environment. If anyone is still unconvinced just go down to La Collette on a Sunday morning and see how busy it is and the huge piles of waste that little old Jersey makes! Then have a think about how small we are in comparison to the next place and the next and be afraid! 


Pictured: If you go down La Collette on a Sunday,you will "the huge piles of waste that little old Jersey makes." (@GovJersey)

Can we do more and quicker? I am certainly still confused about what I can recycle and what I can't? Are milk cartons cardboard? Can I put plastic food containers in with plastic bottles? And why did the man down there just put my precious haul of cardboard in the bulky waste because the skip was full.

Would kerb side recycling help us? Should people be fined for not recycling? I certainly don’t have the answer but I do know it scares me! 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of Bailiwick Express. 

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