West Malling Town Walk West Malling
This project was initiated because of the need to ensure that those living with dementia in the community could feel safe and supported when out and about in West Malling town.
The West Malling Town Walk was conducted by Age Concern Malling in partnership with Tracey Schneider, Project Officer at Dementia Friendly Communities, to address two issues; the first being to experience the challenges people living with dementia have when negotiating a busy town street. Secondly, to support businesses in the town to understand the ways in which they could help people living with dementia experience the town safely.
A number of clients attending the specialized dementia day care at Ageconcern and their carers agreed to take part in an observed walk around the town, which would also be filmed as an educational tool. In order that this project be successful, engagement with the businesses in the town street was essential. All businesses were visited and the project explained. This would be an opportunity for the business operatives to have a greater understanding of the impact of living with dementia and first-hand feedback on how their premises could be adjusted to support safe access and enjoyable encounters.
A great deal of learning was had by observing how potential hazards such as unmarked steps are experienced by those with dementia and how the layout of shops allowing easy passage can make a significant difference to the shopping experience. Simple ideas such as not overloading shop doorways with sale items and having clear carpeted pathways inside the facilities were imperative.
By being part of the Dementia friendly community and taking part in the walk about town, it has enabled shop keepers to become vigilant. Now we have Dementia Friends in our high Street. If you would like to learn more about our valued work feel free to contact Penny or Lyn at Age Concern Malling on 01732 848008 .