School branching out to help people with dementia

An innovative forest school and nursery is branching out to help older people suffering from dementia.

Saturday, 29th June 2019, 11:00 am
Updated Saturday, 29th June 2019, 12:00 pm
Footprints on the Moon staff and children with the MIND Active team and residents from a Bedlington care home.

Footprints on the Moon is partnering with north east charity MIND Active so people with dementia can join its children’s memory-building exercises.

The school was established in 2015 by Annie Blight, from Cramlington, who as a child frequently cycled to Plessey Woods to play in the woodland.

After running activities at various outdoor locations, Annie set up a permanent base at Plessey Woods Country Park.

102 year old Betty with Annie Blight and a pupil from Footprints on the Moon.

She said: “I chose the name as I believe there are no limits to what our children can achieve. Using their imagination and creativity, they can reach the moon and beyond.”

The forest school runs activities for all age groups and the nursery caters for two to five-year-olds. Lessons are based on the great outdoors and nature.

The school uses a giant parachute as a shelter and campfires to teach basic outdoor cooking skills.

Children can build adventure dens, listen to stories and relax in hammocks between the trees.

Angela Clark, project co-ordinator at MIND Active, said: “We're very excited about working with Footprints on the Moon. Visiting the nursery school and taking part in its activities is the kind of experience that is really beneficial for someone with dementia.

“Very often just being around young children can help people with dementia remember details about their own past.”