A DEMENTIA charity is urging communities to come forward to raise awareness for people with the life-changing illness.

Younger People with Dementia (YPWD) is a Berkshire based charity, helping people under the age of 65 who are diagnosed with young onset dementia.

The charity is hoping residents from across Bracknell, Wokingham and other areas of Berkshire will take part in fundraising challenges.

Mark Hainy, director of YPWD, said: "We know there are at least 500 people across Berkshire with this progressive illness and we want to offer our unique services to them and their carers.

"The feedback we've had from patients and families is that we are a lifeline, where we provide a chance for people to continue with their lives so they don't become isolated and vulnerable."

Young onset dementia is a progressive disease which develops as the patient gets older.

Life can be very different as it slowly takes over, reducing a persons capabilities over time and becoming more reliant on a carer.

The charity has seen patients as young as 40 being diagnosed and people are now recognising the symptoms due to the disease having more awareness.

Mark added: "There is an acute greater awareness of mental health and dementia.

"The fact we have seen a greater number of people being diagnosed shows us that people are becoming more aware of what young onset dementia is."

People who are diagnosed with young onset dementia can be left feeling 'incredibly vulnerable and likely to become isolated over time as the illness progresses.

Dr Jacqui Hussey, clinical director of YPWD, said: "The charity's group based activities help to maintain skills, improve quality of life and bring people together.

"We are looking forward to cheering on members of the community as they raise funds to allow us to keep improving life experience for those with Young Onset Dementia."

Residents can take part in fundraising for the charity through its events such as, swim the Serpentine in Hyde Park, march up Mont Blanc or to take part in a 10k challenge in London.

To take part, email contact@YPWD.info or visit ypwd.info/events