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RSPB St Aidan's Nature Park

RSPB St Aidan's is a nature park on the outskirts of Leeds, it has been ‘reclaimed’ from it’s industrial past as an open cast mine. The RSPB have a visitor centre, where members of the public can buy light refreshments, sit down with a lovely view over the site and use toilet facilities. The park is open to all, however we are working to become more dementia friendly and offer monthly 'Wellbeing Walks': Short, sociable walks to help people to enjoy the park in a safe way. The walks are accompanied by Volunteer Rangers, last for about an hour are no more than 1 mile, but can be adapted in length and pace to suit whoever attends. We follow a level path, and the walks are free to all. We are aiming for all staff and volunteers to attend a Dementia Awareness session and become dementia friends. We held three session last year and have more planned in 2019.

13 February 2019
Yorkshire and Humber
Other, Recreation
Local Alliances:
Leeds 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?

Locally, we are aiming to make St Aidan's a place where people with dementia feel welcomed and secure, where they can enjoy the benefits of being outdoors in a lovely environment. There are added benefits of being in nature, experiencing it's sights, sounds and smells, as well as the physical and mental benefits associated with this. We hope that as many staff and volunteers as possible will undertake Dementia Awareness sessions. The walks are accompanied by specific Volunteer Rangers, who have a greater awareness of the needs of people with dementia, both from these sessions and in many cases, from personal and past professional experience. RSPB St Aidan's used to be an open cast mine. We know that many local people used to work within the mining industry and a trip to St Aidan's often brings back many memories of this and enables them to talk about these experiences. The RSPB has another site in Dorset, which runs a similar walk, and this has helped to inform our development. We have an aim to make sure that St Aidan's sits as a part of its local communities, including where these are Dementia Friendly Communities.

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

We have a large number of volunteers, ensuring that all undertake the dementia awareness sessions will be a challenge. We are a charity, so have no additional resource for this.

2. Actions

  • Wellbeing Walks

    We have established monthly 'Wellbeing Walks' aimed at older people including those with dementia. These have been running since July 2018 and an increasing number of people are attending each month. we started the walks in partnership with Rothwell Live at Home, who are still atively involved, however, we have since advertised our walks in local cafe's and libraries, the Rothwell Tea Cosy Cafe, local GP surgeries and with Leeds Connect for Health. We will continually evaluate how the walks are developing and in particular the response from people who attend and continue to develop our plans.

  • Dementia Awareness

    We have held three dementia awareness sessions which have been attended by around 20 staff and volunteers. We are planning to run at least two more in early 2019 and aim to try to get as many of our staff and volunteers as possible to attend a session in the future. 

  • Dementia Friendly environment

    As we develop we will try to ensure that the environment of our Visitor Centre and surroundings are as dementia friendly as possible. 

  • Spreading the word

    We are now in the early stages of planning walks at our sister site - Fairburn Ings.