Richmond parks are the most beautiful in the country - now rapidly becoming the friendliest

Release Date: 28/02/2017

Architecture students from Richmond College are putting their minds against one another in a competition to make Heathfield Recreation Ground a ‘Friendly Park for All’.

The students from Richmond College have designed sculptures that will reference their understanding of dementia and will act as a focal point for visitors. The idea behind the competition is to make Heathfield Recreation Ground even more friendly to visit for people living with dementia as well as all visitors. Research has shown that people with dementia who engage in natural spaces have an improved sense of health and wellbeing.

The intention of the design is to aid the orientation of visitors to the park who live with dementia and may get lost during a stroll. The park is fairly open and so it was decided that a sculpture would act well as a central meeting point. The sculpture will be visible from each of the four entrances to the park in Powder Mill Lane, Twickenham.

Ten entries have been shortlisted and a winner will be announced over the next few weeks by a panel which includes Richmond Council’s Parks Team, the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) and the Seeds of Change Project. The winning sculpture will be installed in the park over the summer. The students met the panel of judges, representatives of Richmond Dementia Action Alliance and Seeds of Change at the spot where the sculpture will be installed today. They networked with one another and discussed the ideas behind their entries.

The project is part of a wider programme to encourage the use of parks and open spaces by everyone and the initiative to make Richmond a ‘dementia friendly’ borough. The Council’s Parks Team is working closely with Richmond Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) and the Seeds of Change project to deliver the project. Homelink, the local day respite care centre for adults, is also helping to assess the suitability of the students’ ideas for local people who will make use of the park.

Richmond Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Pamela Fleming, said:

“The young people involved in the project have been very enthusiastic about making a Heathfield Recreation Ground a better place for all residents including those who live with dementia. We have seen some innovative and inspiring ideas that we can definitely use at Heathfield Recreation Ground. I look forward to seeing the winning design entry and the finished product on display over the summer.”

Frances Bennett, Chair of the Seeds of Change project with Richmond Parks, added:

“By making our parks more accessible to everyone we hope to offer opportunities to improve the health and wellbeing of people with dementia and allow them to remain part of their local communities.”

Updated: 28 February 2017