University's vow to make Northampton 'dementia friendly' begins with memory day in town centre

The Memory Day will feature charities, sign-up stands for dementia courses and a ukulele band made of carers.
The Memory Day will feature charities, sign-up stands for dementia courses and a ukulele band made of carers.

A "memory day" is planned for Northampton town centre to change attitudes towards dementia in the county.

Workshops, sign-up stands for courses and a choir of carers will be at the Grosvenor Centre on Thursday (September 21) from 9am until 6pm.

It comes as part of a University of Northampton project to reforge Northamptonshire as a "dementia-friendly county", where an estimated 7,700 people currently live with the disease.

The University is also spearheading a "full dementia strategy" for the town that will launch in November.

Organiser and professor of applied mental health Jacqui Parkes said: "We need people to talk a lot more positively about dementia and we want to really raise the profile of how it affects people.

"To make Northampton a dementia-friendly town, we need to change attitudes towards it. One way to do this is to get organisations and businesses on board and train workforces how to approach people with dementia.

Studies predict Britain could see one-in-four people aged over 80 living with the disease in the next 10-15 years.

More than 20 charities and local businesses will be on hand for memory day to raise dementia awareness, with sign-up sheets available for courses and workshops.

A ukulele band made of Northamptonshire's carers, as well as a carers' choir, will also make an appearance.It will be Northampton's second yearly "memory day".

Workshops available on the day include training to be a dementia friend, chair exercises and a knitting session.

Professor Parkes said: "We want to increase Northampton's knowledge of dementia. Two-out-of-three people in their first years of diagnosis will live at home and will need help with daily living, like shopping. It doesn't just affect them, but their families and their carers.

"It’s important that we are already ahead of the curve in Northampton to help us prepare for a rise in dementia."

To book onto the memory day interactive courses, visit their website.