Operation Spruce Up goes dementia friendly
A charity which helps people with dementia is helping 'Spruce Up' a County Durham village.
The Alzheimer's Society is playing its part in Operation Spruce Up which is currently focusing on Langley Moor. Spruce Up is a 14-month long initiative in which teams from the authority lead community efforts to get town and village centres in tip-top shape.
The work at Langley Moor is focused on the A690, High Street and surrounding areas.
Footpaths are being swept and cleared; benches, bollards and railings cleaned and painted; old bins replaced; signs cleaned and litter picked up. Paths are being edged, weeds pulled out, trees and shrub beds pruned and planting carried out.
Joining in with this are staff and volunteers from the Alzheimer's Society who are helping give Spruce Up a more sensory feel. They are helping to plant lavender which research has found can have a calming effect on people with dementia.
Future Spruce Up destinations may also be made more dementia friendly, through the use of colours which provide contrast, when painting street furniture and other items. Dementia can affect people's perception of colour and a contrasting colour will make a painted seat or bin stand out more.
Dementia adviser at the society Judith Bentham said: "We are honoured to be part of this initiative - anything that makes an area more dementia friendly is to be welcomed. We are keen to ensure people living with dementia feel safe, included and very much part of the community, and initiatives such as this help to achieve that by creating a calming environment. Durham County Council deserves credit for its approach. There are an estimated 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, more than 8,000 of them in County Durham and Darlington.
"By 2021 the national figure is expected to exceed one million so it's vitally important that they are understood, respected and supported. Any initiative that factors in their needs is a step in the right direction."
Also helping the council teams at Langley Moor are local members, representatives from Mid Durham Area Action Partnership (AAP), members and workers from Brandon and Byshottles Parish Council, the Friends of Langley Moor group, staff from the village Tesco store and local primary school children and staff. As part of Spruce Up, representatives from the council go into schools to deliver assemblies and organise poster competitions, with winning entries going up in the town or village.