Duchess aims to help elderly people at Alnwick Garden

Alnwick Garden Sparkle  Grand Cascade

11:43am 12th January 2018
(Updated 2:40pm 12th January 2018)

A programme at Alnwick Garden is aiming to reach out to local communities.

The Duchess of Northumberland's Drop In Centre for the lonely is looking to replicate the scheme.

The charitable programme provides therapeutic gardening and wellbeing activities for older people and adults with early onset dementia and memory loss.

They've received a 40 thousand pound donation to develop services over the next 2 years.

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The Stuart Halbert Foundation has donated the sizeable figure to charity The Alnwick Garden Trust's Elderberries project enabling it to extend sessions significantly and put much needed funds into the healthcare project.  

The "Blooming Well initiative" and the "Elderberries are run by The Alnwick Garden Trust, who provide theraueptic gardening, arts and culture sessions for people experiencing the early signs of dementia, as well as providing respite for their family or carers.

The current group is now five years old and is highly regarded by its attendees - although dementia can affect memory, sufferers still understand emotion and connect attending the Blooming Well sessions with happiness.
The Stuart Halbert Foundation was established in 2010 to serve those people and causes that merit support from the private sector.  

Gary Lydiate, Chair of the Foundation, said:

"We have seen at first hand the work that the team behind The Elderberries and the Bloomingwell Project have achieved and it is tremendously heartwarming.  The geography here is such that loneliness becomes so much more damaging to the older population and there are fewer opportunities to connect and develop relationships.  We're so pleased that our support of the centre is going some way to tackling this, and we wish them all the best as it continues to go from strength to strength."

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Mark Brassell, CEO at The Alnwick Garden, said the money would make a "huge difference" to the lives of many families living with dementia.

The Duchess of Northumberland said

"The Alnwick Garden was built primarily to benefit the local community and nothing has changed in that vision over the past 20 years. To view The Alnwick Garden as other gardens around the world would be a mistake. It has clear social aims and objectives and it operates very differently to other gardens. The Alnwick Garden is in better health than ever before and for the first time in six years and we are able to concentrate fully on the fundraising to complete the garden and our vision. There is so much more to come".

The Alnwick Garden is one of the world's most contemporary gardens. Also home to the Poison Garden and The Treehouse.

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