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Beetle Bank Social Farm

Beetle Bank Social Farm is a livestock farm which uses traditional farming practices to provide meaningful activity and support to people living with dementia in the York and surrounding areas. BBSF is part of a growing sector in the UK known as Care Farming or Social Farming. The definition of care farming is the “therapeutic use of farming practices” (Care Farming UK). People living with dementia can spend the day on the farm for their own therapeutic benefit. Their interaction with the animals and a sense of purpose and meaning will provide the basis for the therapeutic outcome for the person. We offer an alternative form of day provision for people living with dementia, where being outside and active are fundamental to the experience. The service also has benefits for any family carers involved.

8 March 2018
Yorkshire and Humber
Domiciliary Care, Other
Local Alliances:
York Dementia Action Alliance, Yorkshire & Humber 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?

Day provision in the York area for people living with dementia are largely delivered from indoor spaces. People with dementia who prefer outdoor spaces to spend their day are limited to gardening groups and other occasional options. This is particularly true for men who have difficulty accessing meaningful activities for their own benefit which can
also impact the respite needs of any carer involved. There is a growing body of research about the therapeutic benefits of care farms for people including those living with dementia as well as the positive effect which interactions with animals can have. We believe that just as every person living with dementia is an individual, we need a spectrum of services to cater for individual preferences.

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

There is so much new to learn as we are totally new to setting up a service. We also need support in terms of volunteers to help run the service alongside employed staff. At the moment we have no volunteer commitment. IT is a big hole in our knowledge, for instance social media such as Twitter and Facebook. We also need to develop a website. So overall work load is a factor in slowing down development of the service.

The farm is also not dementia friendly throughout and money needs to be raised in order to do this. There is also the issue of employing suitable staff once we determine whether there is a need for this type of provision in the York area.

2. Actions

  • Make the farm site dementia friendly

    We will invest any revenue back into the farm site in order to make it dementia friendly. We will also apply for funding specifically to make improvements in this area. There is a short term goal which includes things like making steps clear to reduce the risk of falls, and
    putting up dementia friendly signage. The long term goal includes introducing paths and shelters etc.

    Implementation, Planning
  • Raise awareness of dementia in a care farming context to all staff and volunteers

    We will run internal and external dementia awareness training. At the moment we are in conversation with Dementia Adventure about their training options, as well as Jo Bell, Dementia Lead for the City of York Council, who is also available for training. BBSF Director Justin
    Mazzotta is currently studying for a Masters in Dementia Studies and will be qualified to create internal training programmes.

    Implementation, Planning
  • Increase day provision options for people living with dementia.

    At the moment we are opening once a week with one member of staff and volunteers to five service users. Once we sense that there is a need for this type of service then we will look to employ another staff member and potentially open on other days of the week. There is also the potential for the farm to be open to the general public on the days we offer day provision to people with dementia.

    Initial Scoping, Planning