Watercress Line

Mid Hants Railway - the only and largest dementia friendly attraction in Hampshire

Did you know we are one of the only and largest dementia friendly attraction in Hampshire? The aim of this commitment by the whole Railway’s operation is not only to raise the quality of the visitor experience for people with Dementia and their carers but also to help make their quality of life a little easier through their visits.

The Watercress Line has joined the Hampshire Dementia Action Alliance, which drives the development of Dementia Friendly communities across the country, has been working closely with local action group Dementia Friendly Winchester and has developed an Action Plan to help with its work as an attraction. Dr Becky Peacock, the project’s Outreach and Interpretation Officer has become a Dementia Friends Champion and provides awareness sessions to staff and volunteers at the railway. These sessions aim to change the way we think about Dementia and how we can help to improve people's quality of life with simple steps.

We believe it’s really important to us as a Railway to focus on Dementia. There is a need for Dementia to be better understood, so that we can respect, communicate and interact better with those with this condition.The railway appreciates that it has a responsibility to improve the care of these people while they are visiting. The railway attracts a number of older visitors and some will be living with Dementia. Providing training to our staff and volunteers helps the Railway to provide a better experience for these groups. We can give them, their families and carers a place where they can come and experience the joys of the bygone era of steam – the stimulating and enjoyable sights, sounds and smells of the railway - with as few worries as possible and without judgement.’

As well as providing training, the Railway has created a ‘Basket of Memories’, which is filled with items from the 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s, such as photos, artefacts to handle and musical snippets, designed to stimulate discussion and revive memories. This, coupled with the experience of travelling on a heritage railway, provides a wonderful visit for those with Dementia

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