WHN has transformed its Accrington base into a dementia friendly office to help its clients.

The refurbishment programme took 18 months and will ensure the Accrington office is more inclusive to people living with dementia.

The design incorporates distinctive paint colours to identify key features such as doors, woodwork and handrails. Plain carpets and fabrics were chosen combined with furniture designed for comfort and accessibility. Finishing touches of ambient lighting and non-glare blinds were added, with new clear signage throughout the building for easy navigation.

Research by the Alzheimer’s Society* found there are currently 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to one million by 2025.

The project was supervised by WHN’s private client department solicitor, Patrick Swanney, who is a member of Blackburn with Darwen, Hyndburn and Burnley Dementia Action Alliance, and a Dementia Friends Champion, as well as a volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Patrick said: “This is a cause very close to my heart as my aunt was diagnosed with dementia five years ago. I wanted to learn more about how I could help her and the local community, so I became involved with the Alzheimer’s Society. As a firm with a long track record of helping clients with dementia, it was important we made this investment.

“Arranging legal matters can be quite daunting for anyone, but for those with dementia it can be particularly challenging. I use my knowledge and expertise in family inheritance and estate planning to guide my clients through the process and provide the best possible advice.”

Michael Shroot, chief executive officer at WHN Solicitors, commented: “I’m proud of what we’ve achieved here. We’ve created a welcoming environment for all our clients to enhance our personal service.

“Thanks to Patrick we’ve trained all our staff at the Accrington, Blackburn and Bury offices, with plans to roll out the training to our remaining offices very soon.”

Patrick is a member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE) which enables him to give expert advice to older clients in relation to issues such as long-term care funding. He holds a Diploma in Trusts and Estates from the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP).

As a Dementia Friends Champion he encourages others to make a positive difference to people living with dementia, by providing information about the personal impact of dementia and what we can all do to help.