After a successful pilot in 2016, we are again working with the Forest of Avon Trust and Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service to provide woodland wellbeing sessions for people with dementia and their families/carers living in Bristol.
We have expanded the project in 2017 and now run two groups in north and south Bristol (at Conham River Park and Kingsweston House).
It’s been lovely to spend time together this spring, walking by the river, observing wildlife, bonding with each other and foraging for wild garlic (which we made into delicious pesto!) There’s been lots of laughter and sharing. Last week we commented on how at the end of each session it felt like we were saying goodbye at the end of a party.
It’s been particularly nice to see how the group has slowly evolved with people bringing along their own skills to share and getting involved with lighting the fire and making tea. We are especially looking forward to next week’s natural dyeing workshop led by one of the group.
At the end of 2016 Bristol Dementia Wellbeing Service conducted interviews with participants from the pilot to find out how they had responded to those sessions. For some being outside was a chance to get away from the worries and stresses of their daily lives, for others it was an opportunity to meet others who may have shared some of their experiences of caring for someone with dementia. During sessions people have commented on how spending time in nature as part of a supportive and welcoming group has reduced anxiety and people have seemed calm and relaxed.
Sessions are held fortnightly until the end of autumn. We’ll keep you posted through the seasons!