Skip to main content

An award winning Forestry and Land Scotland Woodland Activity Programme for people living with dementia has attracted the attention of the policy and research team at Alzheimers New Zealand.

The FLS programme gives people living with early-stage dementia opportunities to take part in an innovative and fun programme of woodland activities ranging from woodland walks to bushcraft skills, and from woodland cooking to environmental art.

After picking up news of the award online, the Policy and Research team within Alzheimers New Zealand got in touch with the FLS team to learn more about the programme. The FLS initiative will be highlighted in Alzheimers NZ’s newsletter targeting the dementia care sector.

Gordon Harper, Community Ranger for the FLS central region team that runs the programme, said;

“Everyone who comes along – including carers and support workers – tell us that being in the woods works wonders. The complete sensory experience of just being in a woodland and reconnecting with nature is a powerful way of giving people living with dementia access to early memories, giving them confidence in their ability to take on new experiences and boosting their self-esteem.

“The programme has won high praise from participants and their support workers, and has received accolades from mental- health practitioners but to have caught the attention of health professionals on the other side of the world is quite a testament to the programme’s efficacy and success.

“New Zealand isn’t exactly short on forests so hopefully our programme will find a new home.”

People enrolled on the FLS programme take part in a three hour stint of woodland-based activity every week for ten weeks (Jun –Sept) at locations across Central and south Scotland.

Group focused activities within the programme help participants develop social skills and creates a sense of camaraderie that has positive effects on their physical health, and also boosts their self-esteem, confidence and sense of well-being.

Successfully trying a new skill or activity can also give a sense of pride and achievement and meeting new people offers the chance to share experiences, share stories and to support each other.

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) manages forests and land owned by Scottish Minsters in a way that supports and enables economically sustainable forestry; conserves and enhances the environment; delivers benefits for people and nature; and  supports Scottish Ministers in their role as leaders of Sustainable Forest Management and Sustainable Development through their stewardship of Scotland's national forests and land.
  2. |
  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Media Manager, Forestry and Land Scotland Media Office 0131 370 5059 or