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UK’s first outdoor dementia resource centre opens in Cairngorms National Park

21st April 2023

Today (Friday 21 April), Alzheimer Scotland officially opened the UK’s first dedicated Outdoor Dementia Resource Centre at its base at Badaguish, near Aviemore in the Cairngorms National Park. The new 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 Heritage Horizons: Cairngorms 2030 programme, supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund thanks to National Lottery players.

The opening was attended by the Centre’s participants, their families and carers and project partners from Alzheimer Scotland, the Cairngorms National Park Authority, The National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the Speyside Trust.

Gillian Councill, Associate Executive Lead for Localities at Alzheimer Scotland, said:“We are delighted to officially open the Outdoor Dementia Resource Centre today, and it was wonderful to have so many of our participants here.

“People with dementia can really benefit from engaging with nature. The Centre is the first in the UK and supports people with dementia, their families, and caregivers to have enriching outdoor experiences. Anyone can get in touch with us and get support, and we look forward to welcoming people from across the National Park in the coming weeks and months.”

Grant Moir, Chief Executive at the Cairngorms National Park Authority, said: “The new Outdoor Dementia Resource Centre is a truly inspiring place that will make a huge difference to the people and communities of the National Park. The centre and the service it offers will contribute to making this a Park for All, where everyone is welcome no matter what their background or circumstances. The Outdoor Dementia Resource Centre project and what it delivers is an important part of the Cairngorms 2030 programme and its group of health and wellbeing projects. I’m proud that this first-of-its-kind centre has been opened here in Cairngorms National Park.

Caroline Clark, Scotland Director at The National Lottery Heritage Fund said: “We work to ensure that heritage is inclusive and that our funding benefits the whole community. We are very proud to be supporting the UK’s first outdoor dementia centre as it pioneers a new way of enabling enjoyment of our natural heritage, demonstrating the benefits that engaging with heritage can have for our collective wellbeing.”

Martyn Crawshaw, Speyside Trust Chair of Trustees said:  “Speyside Trust is pleased to be able to work with Alzheimer Scotland to allow a wider variety of people to access the Glenmore forest. Speyside Trust is keen to encourage wider community use of our facilities for groups who would otherwise not be able to benefit from this unique outdoor environment.”

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 to participation a quick and easy process. Some of the activities include gardening, walking, outdoor learning, and cycling.

To learn more about the Centre’s programme of activities and how to get involved, please visit the Alzheimer Scotland website.