Dementia Friendly Walks take place in East Ayrshire

In partnership with Alzheimer Scotland, the Council has developed Dementia Friendly health walks that have been recognised by Paths For All with a special award.

The journey to receiving this prestigious Dementia Friendly accreditation from Paths For All began over a year ago. Vibrant Communities, with Alzheimer Scotland, held consultations with people living with dementia and their carers. They worked hard to establish what would encourage someone with dementia to take part in a health walk.

Many people felt that walking in peaceful surroundings would be beneficial, so the team ensured that as many walks as possible now take place in country parks and greenspaces. They also relocated some walks to ensure that there was easy access to toilets and that there were seats for walkers to rest or just enjoy the view. These were small changes but they were significant and could make someone with Dementia more confident about attending.

Councillor Elena Whitham, Depute Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities said: “Faye Forsyth and the team from Vibrant Communities has worked hard with Alzheimer Scotland to receive this special accreditation from Paths For All. They have ensured that people living with Dementia, and their carers, are able to benefit from our health walks that now attract around 50 people each week.

“Many of our Walk Leaders attended Paths For All Dementia Friendly Walk Leader training which has helped them to find out a bit more about the condition and make appropriate changes to walk routes if necessary. There are so many benefits to attending a walking group if you have Dementia, including feeling safe walking in a group, improving fitness and stamina, making new friends, and reducing feelings of isolation and loneliness. The health walk team are so warm and kind that they make everyone feel welcome.

“Health walks are open to everyone. They take place throughout East Ayrshire, either on a weekly or fortnightly, and there are walks to suit all levels of fitness.”

Call or email Faye Forsyth on 01563 576398 / faye.forsyth@east-ayrshire.gov.uk for more information about our health walks.

The Dementia Friendly Walks will take place in Cumnock on the first Monday of the month at 1pm, meeting at St John’s Church; Dalmellington on the second Friday of the month at 12.30pm meeting at Dalmellington Community Centre; Dean Castle Country Park, Kilmarnock every Monday at 12.30pm and every Friday at 10.30am and Dumfries House every Thursday at 1.30pm.