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Breathing Spaces

We have designed and built age and dementia friendly gardens at two community centres in Worthing. We run structured programmes of therapeutic gardening there, and also in a number of care homes. There is strong evidence that therapeutic gardening benefits people at any stage of living with dementia. Gardening in small groups can stimulate thinking skills, boost self-esteem and keep people socially active. Meaningful, structured, individualised activities can improve mood and satisfaction. We adapt the activities to suit all abilities, providing sensory, enjoyable experiences for people at later stages. We are a not-for-profit social enterprise, a Community Interest Company.

19 July 2018
South East
Health, Other
Local Alliances:
Worthing Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

1. We support people with dementia locally to continue or start doing something that matters to them - gardening.

2. Our evidence-based service helps people to maintain their wellbeing and quality of life for as long as possible and, therefore, to remain longer at home and part of the community. It also provides the carer with respite for the duration of the session.

3. We are one of a range of options available for a therapeutic activity that is also fun and enjoyed with others, including people in a similar situation.

5. Our clients feel that they keep making a contribution to the community by tending the gardens. They also start and sustain social relationships as part of the group and the community. We adapt activities to suit all stages and different behaviours of dementia.

6.  Our gardens are designed as safe spaces and we offer support as needed to continue gardening. Our groups and their partners are integrated with and welcomed by the community centre where they are based.

7. We offer support to live well with dementia through garden therapy. People are referred to us by the Memory Assessment Service and Alzheimer's Society as one of a range of options available locally.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

Our challenge is to reach more people with dementia and to get more organisations refering to us, especially GPs and hospitals.

We also need support from other organisations who can provide people with free or cheap transport to our sessions.

Member website


2. Actions

  • Write and publicise case studies to show evidence of beneficial outcomes of gardening therapy

    In order to encourage GPs, hospitals and other agencies to refer people to us and thereby increase the number of people we support, we believe we need to publicise the beneficial outcomes that we work towards and witness, creating our own evidence-base.

    We are currently writing the case studies and getting approval from our clients and their families.

    We will publish the case studies on our website, on social media, in local press, through local networks and at events.

    Being implemented

    2016 - First Quarter Update

    We have published two case studies on our updated website:


  • Establish a process whereby clients can be accompanied to our sessions when they are unable to make their own way

    We will contact local organisations who currently run volunteer car driver/buddy systems and see if we can work with them. We would like our volunteers to be able to register with them and our clients to be able to book transport through them.

    In return, we will contact the local authority at county level to lobby for their scheme to be endorsed and covered under local authority insurance so that individual volunteers do not have to increase their own car insurance.

    We will also work to increase the number of volunteer drivers/buddies by publicising the opportunity on our website, on social media, at events etc.

  • Update our website to include information about Dementia Friends and Dementia Friendly Communities

    In order to support and link to the work of other local organisations like Alzheimer's Society, Guild Care, MIND and West Sussex Carers Support, we will create a new page explicitly highlighting Dementia Friendly Communities.

    This will include information about and links to the local Alliance and Dementia Friends. 

    Being implemented

    2016 - First Quarter Update

    We have added a new page to our website and included links to the Worthing Dementia Alliance and Dementia Friends.