A UNIQUE ‘relaxed’ shopping lane that caters for people with dementia has been launched at a Kidderminster supermarket.

Tesco Superstore unveiled the first lane of its kind in the West Midlands at a ceremony on Monday (March 20) that was attended by 25 people affected with the disease, as well as campaigners and dignitaries.

Kidderminster resident Mick Whitfield has dementia and was involved in the audit and providing advice to Tesco about setting up the lane. He cut the ribbon, ceremonially opening the lane and marking his involvement in the project.

He was supported by other residents with dementia and members of Kidderminster Dementia Action Alliance and the Alzheimer’s Society to produce the findings that Tesco took on board.

The lane is designed to be a slower lane for people living with dementia, as well as people looking for a calmer shopping experience.

It is clearly signed as a slower lane and been decluttered to make it less distracting when passing through.

More than 50 store staff have become ‘dementia friends’ which gives them a better understanding of the disease and how it affects people. There is also information about dementia alongside the till as well as a chart showing the different denominations and shapes of coins.

It is aimed at supporting the estimated 1,500 people living with dementia in Wyre Forest. It is also part of the campaign to make Kidderminster a dementia friendly town.

Andy Faull, Store Manager for the Kidderminster Tesco Superstore said: "I'm really proud to introduce the relaxed lane and I hope that this raises awareness about dementia whilst also providing a happier shopping experience for all those living with dementia in Kidderminster."

Resident Anita Fenton, whose husband Arthur has dementia, said: "The lane is a good thing to have because it takes a lot of the stress out of shopping and people will be much more patient.

“The lane itself is quite wide and accessible. This will be much better for people living with dementia."

Wyre Forest District Council chairman, Councillor Rose Bishop added: "The opening is a great start for people with dementia and Tesco has led the way through their dementia friendly work.

“Other stores and organisations may well follow their example now and provide a priority area for those that use their premises and need a helping hand."

And Jo Hughes, a DAA member, said: "It's fantastic how much has been achieved in 12 months and it is a testament to the local community here. It has been really important to place people with dementia at the heart of everything the Dementia Action Alliance does in Kidderminster."

To find out more about Kidderminster's Dementia Action Alliance, people can contact Jo Hughes on Jo.Hughes@alzheimers.org.uk