BURY is committed to becoming the first “dementia friendly borough” in Greater Manchester as new statistics show that the number of sufferers locally will soar by 50 per cent during the next 20 years.

In a move to support sufferers and carers, a new Dementia Action Alliance is planned.

It will involve public, voluntary and independent sector partners joining forces with a view to training 50 members of the community to become “Dementia Friends” in Bury.

The action over dementia was included in a Labour motion approved unanimously at this month’s full meeting of Bury Council.

It noted that in 2011, there were 2,074 people with dementia in the borough, with a forecast that over the next 20 years this figure is likely to increase by 50 per cent. Nationally, there are 820,000 sufferers in England and Wales, with dementia being the fastest growing illness among the over 65s. Statistics also show that one-in-three people over 65 will die with a form of dementia.

Bury Council has resolved that the borough will aspire to become the first “Dementia Friendly” borough in Greater Manchester in line with the “Prime Minister’s Challenge of Dementia” promoting awareness of the condition and dispelling the myth that it is the inevitable consequence of ageing.

The authority also plans to work with Bury CCG (Clinical Commissioning Group) and Health and Wellbeing Board to increase the number of people screened and diagnosed with a form of dementia.

At the meeting, cabinet member for adult care, health and wellbeing, Cllr Rishi Shori, said: “Dementia is one of our greatest challenges.

“What we hope to achieve by this motion is to bring together the various strands of health and social care in Bury and to work more closely with our partners in primary care.

“This is not a party political issue.”

Council leader, Cllr Mike Connolly, spoke movingly about his “big brother” who, he disclosed, was suffering from advanced Alzheimer’s.

He said: “It’s hard, so hard. It’s such a cruel disease.

“We want Bury to be at the forefront of dementia care.”