What we do
Sessions are free to attend and designed for people living with dementia. They provide a chance to explore stories and characters from the palaces and their history in period spaces. At each session, participants take part in activities, such as music, arts and crafts, drama or movement, which stimulate the senses. Sessions are two hours long with two available each month. The programme has been running since 2013 and engages about 300 people each year in on-site workshops. Alongside the programme of on-site sessions, we support dementia awareness at the palaces by running Dementia Friends information sessions for our staff and volunteers. We have also created the ‘Rethinking Heritage’ guide to support others in the heritage sector to engage with people living with dementia. The evaluation of the on-site programme showed that taking part in the sessions is particularly beneficial in improving participants’ mood, increasing their sense of engagement and their enjoyment of being with others and encouraging new learning opportunities ‘in the moment’. The heritage setting plays an important and unique role in participants’ experience of these sessions, helping to provide immersive multi-sensory stimulation and combating social isolation of those living with dementia and their carers.