On 11 December it's the first ever G8 dementia summit, in the final days of the UK's presidency. It's an event imbued with hope – the hope of anyone who has ever been affected by dementia or loved someone who has – hope of a better future.
by Anna Hepburn
For the Department of Health, the summit is just one moment in our ongoing digital engagement around dementia. But it’s a very special moment, when we expect to be able to reach more people than before. It matters to so many people what is discussed at the summit and what progress is made. Inevitably there is not enough space to accommodate all the people who would like to be there. And that's why it's especially important for the Department of Health digital team to deliver the best digital coverage we can.
So our challenge is how we can bring the summit alive to those who aren't there and provide as rounded a picture as possible. The homepage of dementiachallenge.dh.gov.uk will be transformed on the day into a one-stop summit page. We're live streaming all the main sessions and the press conference, so viewers can see those who speak and hear exactly what they say. A live blog on the same page will add context by giving more details of the proceedings. We'll also be uploading photos from the summit throughout the day, making them available on Flickr and featuring them on the summit page.
We've recorded some powerful films with people with dementia and carers – including the well known dementia blogger and tweeter Beth Britton, @bethyb1886 – to show to delegates. These will be played out on the live stream at the moment the delegates are watching them. And they will also be available to watch on demand on the summit page.
Department of Health tweeters such as @AmyatDH and me – @AnnaHepburnDH – will also be live tweeting, for those who aren't able to follow the streaming and live blog. And we'll be using corporate twitter accounts – @DHgovuk and @DeptHealthPress – to signpost the highlights. The declaration and communiqué, which are the physical products of the summit, setting out what has been agreed by the G8 countries, will be published on GOV.UK with links from the summit page.
I'm confident that there will be an immense digital noise around the summit, generated by all the people who care about what happens there. So we'll be giving a flavour of the wider digital context by pulling tweets into the live blog from those tweeting from the summit and those commenting from afar. I think, although some people may be cynical about the summit, the atmosphere will mainly be of excitement and hope. As Beth Britton wrote in a : ‘having dementia discussed on the world stage... has got to be a good thing’. I'm filled with hope too – hope that the digital coverage goes smoothly and is a success. And hope that the summit will truly make a difference to the future for people with dementia.
Anna Hepburn is digital communications manager for social care and digital lead on dementia @DHgovuk