Thursday, 23rd November - it's a crisp but gloriously beautiful autumn day. It's a little chilly but there's no wind and the morning sun is casting alluring rays of light through the trees surrounding an ornate bandstand, which is the centrepiece of MacRosty Park.
Situated in the west of the Perthshire town of Crieff, this local park has been a popular destination for residents, families and visitors for over 100 years and remains a haven for wildlife and biodiversity.
A newly awarded Dementia Friendly Environments accreditation comes after a series of improvements were made to the park to make it more inclusive for people living with dementia.
Enhancements included a new accessible map located at all entry and exit points which now provide more information to better inform visitors of the layout and facilities within the park.
Corresponding coloured waymarkers now offer increased navigation, including how to return to the car park. Dementia friendly signage has been installed within the toilet block and café, as well as a contrasting toilet seat.
All benches, many of them commemorative, have been completely refurbished in an ambitious undertaking to restore them all, and a series of new picnic benches have been installed. Pathways throughout the park have been cleared of debris and the edges more clearly defined and new and improved water safety signs have been fitted.
The park is a vital local community and green space, used regularly by residents at Richmond House Care Home and local community Health Walk group, which deliver a weekly hour-long walk. Recognising its potential, staff at the care home sought assistance from Perth and Kinross Council Community Greenspace team, Friends of MacRosty Park and Paths for All to transform their vision into a reality, and help the park achieve its dementia friendly status.
Perth and Kinross Council Convenor of Environment and Infrastructure Councillor Andrew Parrott said:
We want everyone in Perth and Kinross to be able to live life well and our green spaces are important in delivering a good quality of life.
MacRosty Park is a very popular destination and it is fantastic to see the improvements made to help everyone enjoy it and feel safe while there.
This is a fantastic example of partnership working between the council, Paths for All and Richmond House Care Home to create a space everyone in the community can use and enjoy.
On Thursday, 23rd November a special launch event was held to reopen the park after the completion of the improvements. We welcomed members of a local community Health Walk group, staff from Richmond House Care Home, the Perth and Kinross Council Communities and Greenspace team and colleagues from Paths for All to enjoy short speeches and refreshments, following the awarding of accreditation certificates to representatives of those partners involved in the project.
Guests attending on the morning were also given the opportunity to explore the park and the upgrades as part of a guided Health Walk, led by a young piper from Morrison's Academy.
Kayleigh Lytham, our Dementia Friendly Walking Development Officer said,
I am delighted to of been part of this collaboration and support this year long project to enhance and improve MacRosty Park. Providing guidance and working through the 'Our Connected Neighbourhoods' public outdoor environments survey, a series of recommendations were made, and subsequently actioned. The accreditation is thoroughly deserved.
Mo Thomson from Friends of MacRosty Park said:
Friends of MacRosty Park are delighted with the accreditation - all the groups have worked well together to achieve this very important outcome. We hope that the people involved will enjoy walking round this lovely park.
Alison Kindness from Richmond House added:
We are delighted to be involved in this project which will hopefully make it easier for people living with dementia and their carers to enjoy this lovely park. We would also like to thank everyone who has supported us to achieve the accreditation.
The project is the most recent addition to our growing portfolio of Dementia Friendly Environment projects which encourage physical activity and personal connections to nature as part of recovery and rehabilitation in care and community settings.
Find out more about our Dementia Friendly Walking work here.