The group are delighted with the feedback they have received. Chair of Dementia Friendly Prestwick, Ian Welsh OBE said: “This project is one of a range of activities undertaken by Dementia Friendly Prestwick over the last four years to make positive impacts on people living with dementia and their families or support workers. The current public health challenges have only reinforced the need for friendly, welcoming, accessible, and inclusive public spaces. We’re especially pleased that partnership and consultation are at the heart of this initiative.”
Further plans for the town include creating a Dementia Friendly “Meeting Centre” and information resource.
Support from Ayrshire Roads Alliance has been central to helping the group progress their plans. Kevin Braidwood Interim Head of Ayrshire Roads Alliance, commented: “Ayrshire Roads Alliance were delighted to assist the group on this project to enable activity and outdoor spaces that are accessible to those living with dementia.”
There are many barriers for someone living with dementia visiting the outdoors including a lack of information about accessible outdoor spaces, the services available (for example, parking, paths, terrain, and toilets), the level of fitness required, costs (for example, parking), safety concerns and transport issues.
Kenneth Dalrymple, Service Lead Neighbourhood Services, South Ayrshire Council sent congratulations to the team. He enthused: “I think Dementia Friendly Prestwick have done a tremendous job on this and I would like to congratulate them on their achievement and acknowledge their commitment to the project. I am glad South Ayrshire Council have been able to contribute and be part of such a worthwhile project.”
People living with dementia benefit from being outdoors and in contact with nature as it can help to relieve stress, increase self-esteem, produce vitamin D, and exercises the brain, helping with memory and cognitive functioning. Even 10 to 15 minutes of daily walking outdoors can improve the overall wellbeing of anyone living with dementia. Physical activity can bring many benefits, such as improved: sleep; physical fitness; confidence; mood; and self-esteem. Being active can help improve memory and slow down mental decline as well as reduce the risk of osteoporosis and stroke.
Pat Douglass, Network Engagement Officer at Sustrans Scotland added:
“Sustrans has been delighted to support this project along National Cycle Network Route 7 through our Transport Scotland-backed ArtRoots programme.”
“We want traffic-free National Cycle Network routes to be safe, welcoming and attractive places for everyone in the community to spend time along, and projects like this are crucial in helping to make this a reality.”
“Art can play a huge role in making journeys more enjoyable for everyone, and we hope that this project encourages more people in Prestwick to make happier and healthier trip choices.”
The wind vanes were designed by Paths for All’s artist in residence Alec Finlay. He initially worked with the Dementia Friendly Prestwick Health Walk group making poetry walking sticks. This inspired the design of three poetry wind vanes, featuring Ailsa Craig, Arran, and the Holy Isle. The wind vanes were funded by Sustrans ArtRoots programme.
Our thanks to the people and organisations who came together to make this positive impact on our community.
Here’s a shorter version of the video above: