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Outdoor Dementia Resource Centre at Badaguish launches summer 2024 programme

26th March 2024

Alzheimer Scotland’s Outdoor Dementia Resource Centre at Bagaduish has launched its summer programme of activities and expects to welcome hundreds of people from the Cairngorms National Park living with dementia, their family members and carers over the coming months for a wide range of activities.

The centre enables people with dementia, their families, and carers to experience the mental and physical benefits of spending time outdoors. The project is part of the Cairngorms 2030 programme, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.

From August 2022 to February 2024, 700 people attended groups and activities at the centre – 509 people living with dementia and 191 carers or healthcare professionals – and the Alzheimer Scotland team are expecting hundreds more throughout the coming year.

Gillian Councill, Associate Executive Lead for Localities at Alzheimer Scotland, said: “We officially opened the Outdoor Dementia Resource Centre in April 2023 and since then we’ve welcomed more than 700 participants for 150 different nature-based activities.

“Looking back to December 2022, I remember hoping that this project would not only provide a needed and valuable offering to people in the National Park living with dementia and their families, but that it would also inspire other individuals, groups and healthcare professionals looking for nature-based and outdoor solutions for health issues, and this is exactly we’ve seen. We’ve received over 75 enquiries from people looking to find out more about our services. These enquiries have come from a wide range of sources; national and local, and some further afield such as England, Germany and the United States.”

Activities on offer this year will range from cycling sessions with Able 2 Adventure, nature education sessions with Wild Things, nature walks, basket making, and outdoor music groups. The activities all have a therapeutic value, as well as being social and offering peer support. The centre, the first of its kind in the UK, works on a self-referral basis, meaning access is quick and straightforward.

David Clyne, Head of Cairngorms 2030 at the Cairngorms National Park Authority, said: “I am delighted to see the progress the Centre has made in the past year. The self-referral element of this project is important, and you can see the results from this in the sheer number of participants, their families and carers from the National Park who have taken part in regular activities at the centre since its launch.

“As we enter the delivery phase of the Cairngorms 2030 programme, I know many more people will benefit from this unique and impactful collaboration between Alzheimer Scotland and the Park Authority that is pioneering green health and the outdoors”

Martyn Crawshaw, Chair at Speyside Trust, said: “Speyside Trust are delighted that Alzheimer Scotland have secured funding to progress the work of the Outdoor Dementia Resource Centre at Badaguish.  The primary aim of Speyside Trust is to ensure as many people as possible from all backgrounds and abilities are able to enjoy the environment of Glenmore Forest and this partnership is very much in line with this aim.  Speyside Trust is committed to make best use of our site for the benefit of visitors and locals so to have people from the community able to benefit from “green health” provided by the centre is a key part of our desire to make best use of the site.”

Anyone living with dementia, their families and carers are welcome to participate in the Centre’s programme of outdoor activities. They can self-refer, making access a quick and easy process. People can learn more about the Centre’s programme of activities and how to get involved here on the Alzheimer Scotland website.