Dementia-friendly Alton’s ground-breaking monthly active wellbeing programme Flourish in the Forest has launched at Alice Holt Forest, funded by Haskins Garden Centres.
It continues on the first Saturday of each month from 10am to 4pm, depending on daylight and weather. It is free for participants and carers, including refreshments.
Sessions have been designed to encompass a range of supervised activities for active people living with dementia and respite for their carers in Hampshire and Surrey borders – including Alton, Farnham, Bordon, Liss, Petersfield, Haslemere, Liphook, Aldershot, Fleet, Hartley Wintney, Odiham, Farnborough and surrounding villages.
Participants can enjoy Alice Holt’s array of outdoor activities including guided walking and cycling on the forest trails, outdoor table tennis, mini badminton, volleyball or choose to take part in gardening activities, with arts and crafts and indoor exercise in the new Alice Holt Activity Centre Studio.
Alice Holt Forest is one of the few accessible outdoor venues and has a range of inclusive cycles as well as mountain bikes, e-bikes and children’s bikes.
Jamie Haskins of Haskins Garden Centres presented a cheque for £11,880 to Karen Murrell, chair of DFA, at Alice Holt Forest Activity Centre.
He said: “We are very excited to be a small part of this new initiative – the first of its kind in forests across England. Trying out the inclusive bikes enabled me to see how this will encourage and enable people living with dementia to remain active in this great outdoor space.
“We established the Haskins Charitable Fund to support the local communities within which our garden centres operate and it is a pleasure to be able to support you in the valuable work that you do.”
DFA co-ordinator Karen Murrell said: “We’re grateful to Haskins for helping us launch a programme that is suitable for people living with younger onset dementia which makes use of the fantastic facilities at Alice Holt Forest and reaps the benefit of being outdoors and surrounded by nature.”