Get Outdoors

National project
Award: £89,765
Timescale: 2018 - 2020

Project aims

The Trust was already funding a number of projects that involved people in walking or sporting activities.

We were interested in funding further projects that connect people with dementia with the outdoors in a way they wish to connect.

We looked for proposals that would provide people with dementia with a high degree of choice and control and that were not overly prescriptive.

The funding was for any organisation, community or enterprise and could be used to benefit people living with dementia in their own home, in a care home, a hospital or any other setting.

We offered awards up to £15,000 to be spent over a timescale of up to 2 years (starting from April 2018).


Priority 2 of the Trust’s dementia strategy states:

“Dementia causes difficulties…which can lead to people withdrawing from day-to-day activities and routines. Lack of independence can lead to isolation and loneliness for both the person who has dementia and those who care for them…

"Maintaining confidence and independence is vital to sustaining a good quality of life for people with dementia and their carers, and it is important that ways of sustaining and building their confidence and supporting their independence are explored and established early on in their dementia journey”.

The organisation Dementia Adventure published its most recent impact report in 2016. This report noted that almost three-quarters (74%) of people with dementia and their family carers lack the confidence to go outdoors and 73% have fears and safety concerns.  Through the ‘Breath of Fresh Air’ initiative, Dementia Adventure worked with the Abbeyfield Society to move beyond a risk-averse culture and support staff and family carers to focus on a more balanced approach to risk-benefit assessments, planning outside activities, connecting with nature and co-producing solutions to potential barriers.

The benefits of this approach, which led to more time spent outside were found to be significant:

  • The number of residents who said they were moderately lonely to very lonely fell from 77% to 11%
  • The average number of falls in the care homes reduced by 10%
  • Residents exercising once a week or more rose by one third
  • Residents having an average of seven or more hours of sleep each night increased from 55% to 88%
  • Residents who rated their appetite as good or very good rose from 66% to 100%
  • The proportion of residents whose mood was either good or very good doubled from 33% to 66%

More Information

In April 2018, the Trust decided to fund 6 Get Outdoors projects, as follows:

  • Sporting Memories Network: £14,966
  • The Ecology Centre: £15,000
  • Evanton Community Wood: £15,000
  • The Froglife Trust: £14,999
  • Instinctively Wild Services CIC: £15,000
  • NHS Dumfries and Galloway: £14,800

You can read more about these projects on their individual pages in due course.

Outcomes we'd like to see

  • Reduction in loneliness
  • Increased physical activity and improved physical and mental well-being
  • Reduction in the number of falls in care homes
  • Increased confidence and participation in community