As many as 80 people from the Frome area living with dementia will improve their health and contribute to important conservation projects, thanks to our grant to Froglife.
The £24,000 grant will support the Somerset Green Pathways for Life project, which provides opportunities for people living with dementia in and around Frome, and their carers, to engage in nature conservation activities, seasonal arts & crafts, nature and wildlife connection, and wildlife gardening.
Accessing nature has specific benefits for people living with dementia, including reduced agitation, improved sleep, reduction in incidence of falls and use of psychotropic drugs, improved communication and higher levels of social interaction.
Three sessions take place each week, lasting for two hours at different times of the day (recognising that different people are better in the morning or afternoon). One group takes place in Mells village near Frome and the other two take place in town centre allotments. Activities include nature conservation such as pond creation, bird box construction and wildlife friendly gardening, seasonal arts and crafts such as willow weaving, clay work and poetry, wildlife appreciation such as bird song identification and pond dipping. Sessions include mindfulness as well as lots of tea, chatting, singing and laughter. There is no charge for sessions as this cohort often faces additional health and mobility needs which mean additional financial hardship, and transport is provided if needed.
The NHS reports that just under 10,000 people in Somerset have dementia, with the rate among the over 65s increasing faster than the national average. Nearly a million people in the UK have dementia according to Alzheimer’s Research UK.
Froglife was commissioned in 2019 by Somerset County Council to establish and run the Green Pathways project for three years. Given its ongoing success the Council agreed to keep part funding for a further three years beyond the initial agreement up to June 2025. MCF funding will complete the project budget during this time.
Since 2020, Froglife have had 97 people attending their sessions, 61 living with dementia, 24 carers and 13 care workers.