Stirling Council has underlined its commitment to make Stirling a dementia friendly city with £102,000 investment in infrastructure improvements.

Councillors approved an additional £52,000 spending at March’s budget meeting following previous spending commitments of £50,000 made to improving dementia friendly infrastructure in 2020. It follows a decision to implement the recommendations of a report commissioned by the Council from the Dementia Services Development Centre based at the University of Stirling.

The additional funding will ensure that changes outlined in the report can be applied more widely across Stirling’s communities.

Convener of the Community Planning and Regeneration Committee, Cllr Chris Kane said: “The challenges faced by people living with dementia and those who care for them are unquestionable.

“This investment reaffirms Stirling Council’s commitment to the ongoing work to improve accessibility for everybody who lives and works here, which includes membership of the Dementia Friendly Stirling Group.

“The audit was conducted in line with best practice and seeks to offer innovative improvements to infrastructure, which in turn will improve accessibility to Stirling city centre for residents, workers, and visitors, especially older adults living with dementia and their carers.”Dementia Friendly AspirationsStirling Council started developing initiatives to support its dementia friendly aspirations in 2019, which are aimed at improving the accessibility of the City Centre for residents, workers and visitors.

A report (Making Stirling a Dementia Friendly City – A Citizen Led Places and Spaces Project) was commissioned as part of that work to provide expert insight and clear recommendations.

The project conducted a series of audits on public buildings, spaces and routes in between them. This included Stirling Bus Station, Albert Halls and other city centre properties.

The findings of the report are to be implemented over the next two years, with £15,000 already designated specifically to deliver dementia-friendly improvements at Stirling bus station prior to the budget meeting.Tangible ImprovementsVice Convener, Cllr Scott Farmer said: “The recommendations laid out in the report offer tangible improvements which make good on our commitment to change the fabric of Stirling to allow people living with dementia to continue to participate and engage in their communities.

“The report makes clear what support is required for people who live with dementia and it is our responsibility as Councillors to act upon this information to ensure that their needs are met.”

Dr Martin Quirke from the Dementia Services Development Centre said: “The work behind this report upended convention by being directed and undertaken by a team of local people living with dementia and their carers.

“The ground-breaking nature of this approach to dementia friendly place-making has gained much international attention, with a chapter dedicated to this project already published in the recent World Alzheimer’s Report 2020.

“The University of Stirling welcomes Stirling Council’s continued dedication to improving the city for older people and those living with dementia, and its commitment to implementing recommendations from the report.”