How Thrive is developing online content for dementia care settings.


Thrive has been developing training in the sector of STH for a long while, and some of our most significant work has been in developing and working in the area of dementia care gardens and gardening.

Within our Training and Education programme we deliver one day programmes such as ‘connecting people with Dementia to nature and gardens as well as the two-day courses such as ‘Using STH with older people with specific support needs’, and we are looking to develop the ‘Green Care and Dementia’ course in the future.

A large part of what we do within the training and education team is our bespoke and consultancy work, and across the past few years Thrive has been working with Learning through Landscapes on a project called ‘Living through Landscapes’.

Living through Landscapes is a pioneering project to support people with dementia by transforming outdoor spaces at 30 care settings across the UK.

“Living through Landscapes is a partnership between Learning through Landscapes, the Society for Horticultural Therapy known as Thrive, Groundwork, Age UK and the University of Kent, it was made possible thanks to grant from the Big Lottery Fund.”

Some of the project aims have been to create a website that supports the delivery of the project, as well as providing training to those within the care settings, offering resources to those that are based out and about in these venues. The website will also host news and exciting updates from the dementia care settings involved. The site will further assist with the dissemination of the project’s findings. And finally, it will serve as a legacy resource bank, hosting the designs and many of the other project resources, long after the project has ended.

With this legacy in mind Thrive are adding the final course to this resource, an online learning course ‘How to use gardens and nature in dementia care settings.’

“By bringing together current thinking, best practice and a robust evaluation process, the Living through Landscapes project promises to deliver excellent outcomes and generate knowledge that people supporting dementia care will benefit from for years to come.”             Kathryn Rossiter – Thrive, CEO

In recent years Thrive have been involved in research and learning in practice about the benefits of gardens and gardening for people with dementia. The resources that are included on the ‘Dementia Garden’ site will support all of the designers, volunteers and care-setting staff involved in delivering Living through Landscapes. Additionally, it will provide information guidance and learning for all with an interest in supporting people living with dementia.

There are already 3 courses available on the website:

Creating Gardens: This short resource is intended to support the process of building the 30 dementia friendly gardens that are being created as part of the Lottery Funded ‘Living through Landscapes’ project. The course is intended for all of the staff and volunteers who are involved in bringing these innovative, dementia-friendly designs to life through the build process.

Values of Gardens:  This module is intended for all of the volunteers and staff involved in the Living through Landscapes project but will also benefit people working in other dementia care settings and anyone with an interest in dementia care including health care practitioners, researchers, people with dementia and their families.

Design: The module is intended for all of the Designers involved in the Living through Landscapes project. It will also benefit anyone who would like to create Gardens and Green space to promote health and well-being for people with dementia.

Using the online learning platform, we are able to offer concise and relevant training to a wider range of participants, as well as reach care settings who may not have the capacity to disseminate our face to face training to all of its staff.

To ensure that the legacy of this project is established the final course is due to go live in early June, ‘How to use gardens and nature in dementia care settings’ whilst it will be of particular value to operational and managerial staff working within dementia care settings, this course will be of interest to anyone who wishes to support those living with dementia to access outdoor spaces. This could be in the settings outdoor space itself or exploring opportunities for engagement in the wider natural environment.

This course covers 2 key areas:

‘Nature empowerment’ and exploring ways in which those living with dementia can be supported to not only access but benefit and engage with the care settings outdoor space/garden and wider nature-based opportunities.

‘Routes to using the garden and wider natural environment’ which will provides information on 2 key approaches to facilitate opportunities for contact with nature and a range of activities that can be undertaken for those living with dementia.

If you are interested in further information about this course, or the work that this project has developed please visit or contact the TEC team within Thrive on or 0118 988 5688.


Freddie Watson Stubbs has been part of the Training, Education and Consultancy Team at Thrive since Spring 2018 and design, develops and delivers content across ThriveLearn, as well as in person to a range of bespoke groups. Thier primary interest is in how horticulture can be used to engage with young people, as well as how Green Care can really be a useful intervention for so many people.

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