Care Farming UK is a care farmer-led charity, which works to promote care farming and to support care farmers.
Dementia Adventure and Care Farming UK worked together to design and deliver a training pilot project supported by Natural England. This project built on previous research work led by Dementia Adventure and involved a series of face-to-face and online training sessions designed to increase the level of engagement between care farms and people living with dementia. This pilot was commissioned by Natural England, who along with National Nature Reserve staff participated in the training sessions. Natural England have previously supported and published the ‘Greening Dementia’ research and the ‘Is it Nice Outside?’ report, both delivered by Dementia Adventure. This pilot project built on the findings of those research reports enabling us to start looking at new ways to encourage people living with dementia to engage with the outdoors.
The training itself consisted of a blend of two of our most popular training packages – ‘Thinking Differently About Dementia’ and ‘Risky Business’. Our highly experienced trainers delivered face-to-face training in multi-locations around the UK and also facilitated online training through a series of pre-recorded seminars, digital training packs and being available for question and answer sessions.
The training considered a variety of subjects such as:
The pilot was hugely successful with 100% of delegates saying that they would recommend the training – that it was relevant, and that it met their needs. As a result of this training they felt they had a greater understanding of how they could communicate with and offer personalised support to people living with dementia. They felt they had learned some useful ways to help assist people living with dementia stay connected to people and to nature. 82% of the delegates said they were likely to change their practice as a result of this training.
A particular highlight of the training for most delegates was hearing from people living with dementia themselves. People like Agnes Houston, a dementia activist and friend of Dementia Adventure. Agnes has produced a video about sensory challenges with others living with dementia, which enables them to share what it is like to live with dementia and how she and others have overcome and adapted their lives. It was inspirational and empowering.
Feedback from the training included:
‘A huge amount of information that was so useful to me as this is all new to me’,
‘Useful to network with other delegates and share views’
‘Thought-provoking and inspiring with a ‘can do’ approach’
Each delegate created a plan of what they intend to action back in their environment. We know through the action plans and delegate feedback that the legacy of this training is that people living with dementia will have more opportunity for engagement and connection with nature. We will be measuring the impact of this work to further understand longer term benefits. Importantly, we also have the foundation to take the emotional, social and physical benefits of this work to more people with dementia, as well as the green space organisations who rightly want to engage and include them in the wonderful nature spaces on offer.
For more information about this project or our training please call Simon on 01245 237548 or visit our website.