PLANS to build over 40 dementia-friendly homes in Distington are moving forward.

Distington Big Local, the organisation behind the ambitious scheme, will hold a public event to unveil the plans next week.

Project manager Ingrid Morris says they are on track to lodge a planning application with Copeland Council early next year, and if approved, it is hoped work will begin next Autumn.

Big Local provides an opportunity for residents in areas across the country to use a £1 million Big Lottery investment to make a lasting positive difference to their communities.

Distington Big Local bought a 1.8 acre site formerly owned by the Royal British Legion in 2016, using around £80,000 of lottery money.

A group of dedicated volunteers have spent the last three years working on the project.

They have enlisted the help of specialist architects to design the housing and have travelled to other parts of the country to see the dementia-friendly design in action.

“A lot of research has gone into the dementia designs,” Mrs Morris said.

“It’s looking very positive. There’s an awful lot of work gone on over the last three years. The village is behind the project, as is the council. They have been very supportive.”

She added that the scheme was much-needed in the village due to a lack of housing provision for the elderly.

“There were two old people’s homes in Distington that have since closed. There are people if they are still able to live in their own homes, who have to move out of the village which makes things difficult for them.

“The housing will be for other people to come and live in as well.”

The team of volunteers behind the project have recently been awarded the Geoff Brown Award for Innovation by the ACTion with Communities in Cumbria, in recognition of their work.

Mrs Morris said: “I’m really chuffed – it’s recognition for them. It’s fantastic – a real boost to morale.

“They have worked very hard. The volunteers do an awful lot. They put in hours of unseen and unpaid work.”

Distington Big Local is also involved in a number of other initiatives including a weekly job club and village maintenance project.