NORTHWICH is set to play a major role part in helping to change the way that people think about dementia.

The town is due to be the first in West Cheshire to become ‘dementia friendly’ under plans by Cheshire West and Chester Council working with health partners.

Steps are already under way to follow the example of the village of Malpas, the borough’s first dementia friendly community.

Proposals include dementia friendly branding for shops, businesses, schools, colleges and other organisations which commit to action.

Signs are planned for routes in and out of Northwich identifying it as a dementia friendly town, and awareness sessions are proposed for bus, taxi and community transport providers, with dementia friendly drivers and transport identified by a window sticker.

Community groups will be encouraged to attend dementia friendly sessions and to consider people with dementia when planning activities, and a ‘dementia design guide’ is planned for tenants of Barons Quay retail and leisure development.

The town’s proposed dementia friendly status was announced at a full council meeting, and followed a question from Clr Gaynor Sinar about the authority’s plans to support the Dementia Friendly Communities initiative, which aims to improve inclusion and quality of life for people with dementia.

Clr Sinar said: “The initiatives being developed have the potential to make an enormous difference to the day-to-day lives of people living with dementia and their families.

“Developing an inclusive community requires everyone to play their part, and I have no doubt the people of Northwich will rise to the challenge.”

Fellow local councillor Amy Mercer-Bailey said dementia was an increasing issue in society, affecting one in three people over the age of 65.

“It is vital that we support people living with the condition and recognise their needs,” she said.

“It is fantastic that Northwich is taking positive action towards being recognised as a compassionate place for people with dementia and their families, and I am sure other towns will be watching us with interest.”