A CAMPAIGN has been stepped up to make Droitwich Spa a Dementia Friendly town.
Following in the footsteps of many other communities, including Evesham, Kidderminster and Ombersley, discussions have taken place about applying for the classification which aims to make everyday life easier for people living with dementia.
Labour councillor Alan Humphries put forward a motion at Monday’s town council meeting asking the Town Council to support the scheme but, despite no funding being needed, councillors asked for more time on the matter so they could make ‘an informed decision’.
Coun Humphries insisted supporters would still forge ahead with the plans.
“There is clearly support in Droitwich for the town to work towards becoming Dementia Friendly.
“It is my intention to work as an individual citizen of the town with the Dementia Meeting Centre and their dedicated team of staff and support network to achieve the goal of Droitwich Spa working towards becoming Dementia Friendly which will encompass the views of all of the town.”
In 2015, Droitwich became the first in the country to open a Dementia Centre, in the Community Hall on Heritage Way, which provides support and information for people living with the disease and their carers.
Speaking of the benefits of making the town Dementia Friendly, Prof Dawn Brooker, director of the University of Worcester’s Association for Dementia Studies, said: “Every community up and down the county should become Dementia Friendly.
“The biggest challenge is overcoming the stigma and it is about working with community groups, banks and schools to battle that fear.
“It is about educating people and taking the time to be patient with people living with dementia to help them with everyday things like going shopping.”
Gill Edwards, from the Droitwich Spa Forum for Older People, who was on the advisory board for the Dementia Meeting Centre, said: “The Dementia Centre is already proving its worth, so many people with dementia and their families are really pleased.
“We see making Droitwich a Dementia Friendly town as an extension of this – this is just another step forward and would be a very good thing to make people more aware of the disease and look after people when they need help.”
Kumbi Mandinyenya, Operations Manager for Alzheimer’s Society said: “Dementia Friendly Communities support people affected by dementia in order for them to comfortably and confidently contribute to their local community whilst feeling valued and engaged.
“There seems to be an appetite to undertake dementia friendly work in Droitwich and Alzheimer’s Society will look to support people and organisations pursuing this in the area.
“Droitwich residents can build upon the dementia friendly successes in surrounding areas such as Ombersley and Kidderminster in their aims to improves lives of local people living with dementia.”
Coun Sital Harris is set to speak to representatives from the Clinical Commissioning Group, Age UK and Churches Together, to discuss the next steps for the Town Council.
There were heated scenes in the council chamber on Monday night at the council’s decision not to back the motion that night with some angry comments from some members of the public.
But Coun Harris said: “It was decided to further investigate what it means to be a ‘Dementia Friendly town’ and report back – we are not saying ‘no’, simply that we need to seek the views of others to understand.
“Droitwich Spa is a friendly town to everybody living and visiting our town.”
Visit www.alzheimers.org.uk and search for ‘Dementia Friendly Communities’ for more information.