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Frome’s Wild Memories group celebrates a year of activities

FROME’s Wild Memories group provides practical wildlife-oriented activities to people living with dementia in Somerset, to increase their confidence, transferable conservation skills and improve emotional, social and physical wellbeing.  

On behalf of the group, Zak Mathergratton explains, “Since June 2020 we have delivered almost 100 sessions to 40 individuals, both people living with dementia or memory loss, and their family members.  

“As well as being a chance to socialise and have fun, our sessions are all about helping nature and wildlife. Some of our more hands-on creations so far include bird boxes, bat boxes and bird feeders and we’ve also planted wildflowers and bulbs. Later this year we are planning to install a pond by the Welshmill Roundhouse in collaboration with Frome Town Council and Frome FROGS, which will be a real boost for wildlife. 

“Sometimes we get more creative, with painting, drawing, willow weaving, poetry, clay work, and all kinds of arts and crafts inspired by nature and the changing seasons. One highlight was our Apple Day in which we made juice and started brewing some cider, to be repeated this autumn!  

“It’s all about coming together and enjoying the outdoors. This has proven health benefits for everyone, and research is increasingly pointing to specific benefits upon mental and physical health for people living with dementia.  

“Unfortunately, dementia can be a misunderstood and stigmatised condition, although this is changing thanks to a lot of hard work often by those whose lives have been affected by it in some way.  Our group also aims to challenge ‘risk averse’ notions that people living with dementia shouldn’t use sharp tools or get dirty hands, and as our first year has shown, it’s amazing what we can achieve by working together and supporting each other.  

“We have lots of spaces if anyone would like to come and try out a session. These are always free, and we can help with transport too. The project is run by Froglife, a UK charity specialising in reptile and amphibian conservation, with several education projects around the country enabling people to help wildlife in their local areas.” 

You can contact us on 07949572849, or email zak.mathergratton@froglife.org” 

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