National Trust to invest in accessibility and upskill 74,000 people to make all heritage sites dementia-friendly
Two influential UK charities, the National Trust and Alzheimer’s Society, have announced an ambitious three-year project to make all of the Trust’s 500 historic and countryside sites dementia-friendly.
Announced on the 30th September to mark the end of World Alzheimer’s Month, the partnership will aim to improve the accessibility of some of the nation’s most popular heritage and rural destinations for millions of people affected by dementia.
“Dementia is the greatest health concern of our time, so it is important that people living with the condition can continue to enjoy a positive and fulfilling life,” commented Tiger de Souza, Volunteering and Inclusion Director at the National Trust.
“We also know that our natural and historic places can play a significant role in improving the wellbeing of people living with dementia by helping to stimulate discussion and memories.
The project will see the National Trust invest in improving the accessibility of sites, from improved signage, facilities and modifications to materials used on paths and car parks.
The heritage and conservation charity also confirmed it will develop specific dementia services, such as cafes, tours and social events, as well as to take heritage into the community, visiting local care homes, hospitals, day centres and community groups to help drive for more dementia-friendly communities.
“A number of our sites are already offering great experiences for people living with dementia, and through this landmark partnership, we aim to extend those benefits to many more people” continued Tiger.
“However, we recognise there are challenges around both accessibility and the support available at these sites and this is why we are joining forces with Alzheimer’s Society.”
As well as investing in infrastructure, 9,000 National Trust staff and 65,000 are set to benefit from receiving valuable dementia training and education under the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Friend’s program, one of the biggest rollouts of the Alzheimer’s charity’s scheme.
It comes as figures revealed that seven per cent (about 150,000) of National Trust supporters over the age of 65, including its volunteers, staff and members, may be living with the condition, which the independent charity says is in line with Alzheimer’s Society research that one in every 14 people in the UK aged 65 and over has dementia.
“It’s great to have the National Trust encouraging people with dementia to feel confident in getting out and about in their local community. Visiting a heritage site can improve physical and mental health by helping people keep active,” said Jeremy Hughes, Alzheimer’s Society’s Chief Executive.
“The importance of such venues increases as we get older, as a place to relax, recover and engage through multi-sensory stimulation of the space around us. We hear through Side by Side, our scheme linking people with dementia to volunteers supporting them to do the things they love, that visiting a heritage site is one of the most popular activities for people affected by dementia.”https://thiis.co.uk/national-trust-to-invest-in-accessibility-and-upskill-74000-people-to-make-all-heritage-sites-dementia-friendly/https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/national-trust-dementia-friendly.jpg?fit=1000%2C563&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/national-trust-dementia-friendly.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1NewsroomThird SectorAccessibility,dementia,dementia friends,dementia-friendly,hertiage sites,National Trust,partnership,The Alzheimer's SocietyTwo influential UK charities, the National Trust and Alzheimer’s Society, have announced an ambitious three-year project to make all of the Trust’s 500 historic and countryside sites dementia-friendly.Announced on the 30th September to mark the end of World Alzheimer’s Month, the partnership will aim to improve the accessibility of...Calvin BarnettCalvin Barnettcalvin@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine