Kirklees Council is incorporating dementia-friendly features into the design of its buildings.

People with dementia often perceive things differently and design changes can make all the difference.

For example, a black mat placed in the doorway of a shop may be perceived as a hole in the ground making some people living with dementia fearful of crossing the threshold.

Kirklees Council is working with the University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre to launch a Dementia Friendly Design Tool as part of a unique partnership project.

People living with dementia are often faced with inequalities and stigma that other people don’t often see.

The introduction of pioneering dementia design guidance will make it easier for people living with dementia to live and work in Kirklees, and make sure access to buildings and services is more inclusive.

Dementia-friendly features have already been incorporated into the new Birkby & Fartown Library in Hillhouse and the refurbished Almondbury Library.

The new design tool provides practical solutions and guidance on how the design, layout and furnishing of buildings and environments can make it easier for people living with dementia to use places and spaces throughout Kirklees.

Almondbury Library

Clr Musarrat Khan, Cabinet member for health and social care, said: “I am incredibly proud that we are trailblazers in this important mission to make Kirklees a more dementia-friendly and inclusive place to live and work.

“By being the first local authority to work with the University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre in this way, we are setting the trend in how to make vulnerable residents feel safe and more able to live independently in their own homes.”

At the two dementia-friendly libraries improvements have been made to signage, where the council has used contrasting colours to aid wayfinding and orientation which help to promote independence and create a modern, calming environment.

The guidance has also been used as part of the refurbishment of an office building to create a fully inclusive environment.

Birkby & Fartown Library

Lesley Palmer, acting director of University of Stirling’s Dementia Services Development Centre, said: “DSDC are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Kirklees Council on this exciting project and we applaud the council on their ambitious commitment to improving lives for people with dementia.

“Through the project, DSDC has created a dementia design toolkit for different building typologies to encourage companies and organisations from all backgrounds to make changes, whether small or large, that can support someone living with dementia to live independently in the community.

“This pilot project will also help inform DSDC’s new three-tiered audit tool, which will be available in 2022. DSDC looks forward to continuing working with Kirklees Council in the future.”

Almondbury Library

The new toolkit will also play a central part in the redevelopment of existing dementia day care facilities in North Kirklees.

The Kirklees Dementia Design Toolkit can be viewed on the council’s website: