Froglife is a national wildlife conservation charity concerned with the conservation of the UK’s reptile and amphibian species, as well as their associated habitats. It has a strong focus on including disadvantaged and vulnerable people and communities in their work, enabling young people and adults alike to engage with nature and wildlife for their mental and physical wellbeing.
This project – Somerset Green Pathways for Life, provides opportunities for people living with dementia, living in and around Frome, and their carers to engage in nature conservation activities, seasonal arts & crafts, nature and wildlife connection and wildlife gardening.
A 2014 Alzheimer’s Society survey found that 35% of respondents went outside once a week or less. Accessing nature has specific benefits for people living with dementia, including reduced agitation, improved sleep, reduction in incidence of falls and the use of psychotropic drugs, improved communication and higher levels of social interaction.
Froglife was commissioned in 2019 by Somerset County Council to establish and run this project for three years. Given its ongoing success the Council agreed to keep part-funding for a further three years, beyond the initial agreement up to June 2025. MCF funding will complete the project budget during this time.
Three sessions take place each week, lasting for two hours at different times of the day (recognising that different people are better in the morning or afternoon). One group takes place in a village near Frome and the other two take place in town centre allotments. Activities include nature conservation such as pond creation, bird box construction and wildlife friendly gardening, also willow weaving, clay work and poetry. Wildlife appreciation such as bird song identification and pond dipping. Sessions also include mindfulness as well as lots of tea, chatting, singing and laughter. There is no charge for these sessions and transport is provided if needed.
The project has delivered 309 sessions since it started and 40 people living with dementia and their carers will benefit each year. There has been some wonderful qualitative feedback – carers tend to report that participants return brighter more cheerful and more communicative. It is something to look forward to – a positive feature in the week. “It actually gets hims sitting outside, which he never does, he’d just be watching TV. The fact he’s so excited week on week says something”, “I so look forward to coming here, it really is the highlight of my week, and this is the first time I’ve been out all week” are just a few of the positive comments made.
if you would like to know more about the Froglife charity please click here