The National Lottery has pledged a £1.3m grant to help 30 care homes have their gardens landscaped to be more dementia-friendly.

A charity that helps to create dementia-friendly gardens in care homes is to receive a £1.3 million National Lottery grant.

The Learning Through Landscapes charity believes many dementia care homes fail to make full use of their outdoor spaces, despite many residents missing being in their gardens and enjoying the outdoors.

The charity carried out a pilot project at a care home in Herne Bay, Kent, in which they created a seaside area in the garden, complete with a beach hut, as well as familiar flowers and paths that go round in a loop and always return to the beginning.

Each of these dementia-specific modifications helped those in the care home to really enjoy spending time in the garden.

‘Since we have made the changes our service users engage so much more with the outdoors,’ says Sue Cliffe, from Age UK Herne Bay. ‘They are now able to go outside on their own and can often be found with a cup of tea watching the wildlife in our new habitat area.

‘We can see for ourselves how being outdoors and in the natural environment helps their health and wellbeing by improving mobility, increasing relaxation and reducing anxiety.’

Dawn Austwick from the Big Lottery Fund said,

‘Designed with input from the residents themselves, with familiar features that will stimulate their memories, these outdoor spaces will have a hugely positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing.’

The first 10 locations to benefit from funding are:

- Age UK, Crawley, West Sussex
- Age UK, Maidstone, Kent
- Craigbank Care Home, Glasgow
- Three Cliffs Care Home, Swansea
- Age NI Meadowbank, Omagh
- The Dales Care Home, Maryport, Cumbria
- Age UK, Manchester
- Edith Moffat House, North Shields, Tyne and Wear
- Cedar Grove Wellbeing Centre, Wallsend, Tyne and Wear
- Evesham Community Hospital, Worcestershire

For more information on setting up a dementia-friendly garden, click here.