About the Project
The Parks Trust is an independent charity that cares for over 6,000 acres of parkland and green space in Milton Keynes. This includes the river valleys, ancient woodlands, lakesides, parks and landscaped areas alongside the main roads that represent 25% of the city and they continue to take ownership of additional areas of green space as Milton Keynes expands. Their mission is: ‘… to create beautiful and inspirational parks, lakes and landscapes that will be loved by the people of Milton Keynes, forever.’
In collaboration with The Heritage Lottery Fund, The Parks Trust have formed a dementia support group supported by The Parks Trust staff, volunteers and other interested parties [charities, support organisations etc]. The overall aim of this group will be to better accommodate those living with dementia to access nearby parks for walks, with a view to benefit the people’s overall mental wellbeing. The Parks Trust are also working with Dementia Adventure, an organisation whose remit is to help those living with dementia to retain a sense of adventure in their lives.
A research team based at The Open University, led by Dr Jitka Vseteckova, were invited to evaluate the impact of the walks on people living with dementia. The aim of the evaluation is to understand what the barriers and facilitators are to engagement with these walks and how can regular attendance be ideally facilitated. The researchers are interested in exploring and learning more about how people interact with the outdoors in this context as well as with other people.
This research is a quality improvement programme – that will lay out a framework and a roadmap for stakeholders who are to improve current services and inform future initiatives. The activity plan is scheduled to take place over the next 4 years [ending in 2022/ early 2023].