Project information

Creative Spaces

We're working with older people with dementia, using outdoor spaces to reconnect them with their communities, improve their health and quality of life.

September 2009 - March 2018

Charity information: Sensory Trust

Sensory Trust logo
  • Need


    Dementia is one of the leading health challenges of our generation. People typically live with dementia for 10 to 12 years, and by 2025 it is estimated 1 million people in the UK will have dementia. The current isolation and stigmatisation of older people with dementia increases feelings of loneliness, depression and worthlessness. They often find it difficult to spend time outdoors, enjoy social activities and contribute to their community.


    We are working with people with dementia and their carers living in rural, isolated areas of Cornwall. We run activities, increase access to green spaces and increase understanding of dementia within local communities. This is helping to improve the physical and mental health of people with dementia, enabling them to lead fulfilling, independent lives for as long as possible. Older people, care staff, families and members of the community are involved in every stage of the project.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Older people with dementia will have improved quality of life and reduced isolation


    » Integrate activities into care plans for at least 30 older people with dementia
    » Run creative sessions in outdoor environments with at least 50 older people with dementia
    » At least 100 older people with dementia participate in running community events including barbecues/teas, dementia awareness events, garden events.

    Older people will be interviewed throughout the project and responses compared to a number of Quality of Life indicators.

    Aim 2

    Carers will acquire skills to design supportive services and environments for people with dementia


    » Design, deliver and evaluate training to at least 90 care professionals from residential care homes
    » Deliver and evaluate training to at least 60 family members and home carers
    » Publish 6 fact sheets for carers and landscape designers on the value of outdoor environments in the care of people with dementia

    Towards the end of the project carers will have the opportunity to develop activities themselves to demonstrate how the service will continue beyond the life of the project.

    Aim 3

    Young people gain improved understanding of dementia and diversity


    » 60 young people participate in work-related training and practical activities.
    » 15 young people will help evaluate project activities

    Young people will be interviewed throughout the project and their attitudes and understanding at the end of the project compared with their initial responses.

    Aim 4

    The local community will have greater understanding of dementia and more connected to those in care


    » Prepare and run dementia awareness workshops for 50 community members
    » Prepare and run 7 community events including barbecues/teas, dementia awareness events, garden activities, involving at least 250 community members

    Members of the local community will continue to participate in events held at care homes and become involved in organising events.

  • Impact


    We will establish a leading model that will be easy to replicate for people of all ages with dementia, in all care settings across the UK.
    We will demonstrate how residential environments can become a community focus and how public open space can better serve people with dementia; providing increased opportunity for active outdoor recreation and social interaction.
    We will develop practical resources and training materials relevant for carers, family members and landscape designers.


    It will take time to change people’s perceptions of dementia within the community. We have already been working with people with dementia in Cornwall for over 5 years, this project is built on this experience as well as working directly with people with dementia and their carers. We have responded to feedback and are now focussing on people living in their homes, supporting them to live independent, fulfilling lives.


    Through regular written and verbal reports detailing project activity and achievements. Donors will also be invited to key events, including community celebrations as well as dementia awareness training events.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £295,344

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £135,310 Project officers 1.5fte for 3 years
      £23,050 Activities Community activities
      £24,000 Travel Travel for project officers or activities/events
      £41,109 Admin Project related overheads
      £47,625 Capital Landscape Design & Build
      £24,250 Training Training events

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Big Lottery Fund £247,719 Guaranteed
    Clothworkers Foundation £10,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Trevarna House, one of Cornwall Care's homes in St Austell, Cornwall provides the focus for this project. St Austell is within the 20% most deprived areas in the UK and within the top 5% in Cornwall. The home is near to a library, leisure centre, school, park and residential housing yet there is little social interaction between the residents and the rest of the community. This project will demonstrate how psychological and social divides between care homes and communities can be overcome.


    Dementia directly affects 820,000 people in the UK. The World Alzheimer Report 2010 identifies dementia as the most significant health and social crisis of the century.
    Older people with dementia experience social isolation and limited opportunities to participate in their wider community. Increased physical activity and social stimulation help reduce the negative elements of dementia such as anxiety, agitation and aggression.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Sensory Trust is the leading charity focusing on disability and the environment, and on the benefits that well-designed, accessible outdoor environments can confer on those who use them. Our multi-disciplinary team enables us to share knowledge between work areas that usually remain separate. Combined with our long experience of involving beneficiaries in finding solutions this means we can identify new ways to tackle old problems, and create practical solutions that work in the real world.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    The Residents And Staff Of Trevarna Care Home

    They are integral to this project, through contributing to the garden design and the activity programme

    Wendy Brewin

    Specialises in working with older people, with extensive experience of engaging people of all ages and abilities in improving public green space.


    Specialists in restorative landscape design for care settings, have created concept designs for Trevarna House

Community events, Cornwall June 2013