A DEMENTIA-friendly garden is coming to Shaftesbury, with the town council tasked to help find an appropriate site by the end of the year.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and a demand for more outdoor activities, a group has appealed to the council to help it find a suitable plot of land for gardening.

Heard during the Recreation, Open Spaces and Environment (ROSE) Committee meeting last week, In Jolly Good Company wants to bring a space to the town offering gardening, relaxing, socialising, cutting flowers, harvesting and arts and crafts, to support those living with dementia or other conditions.

Meeting attendee Councillor John Lewer, of the Shaftesbury and District Dementia Friendly Community Steering Group, said the scheme would “help a number of people in need of support for various reasons,”.

He added: “It’s mentioned as dementia on the programme but it’s not just for that. It’s for people generally that need support for whatever reason to get outdoors and do something that makes their life more interesting.”

Cllr Lewer later added that a dementia friendly garden would allow residents to “have a social occasion, do some gardening, pick some vegetables and make an occasion out of it”.

In a report submitted to the council it said: “[The group has]said that they are very flexible, open to ideas and suggestions. They are excited to be embarking on making a new project that will be unique to Shaftesbury.”

In Jolly Good Company is looking to start the project in Shaftesbury in the spring or summer of next year, following the success of a similar project running in Kingston Lacy.

Plans for the garden were backed unanimously by councillors, with meeting attendee Cllr Karen Tippins commenting that the scheme was “an exceptionally good idea”.

When considering a location, the criteria only requests a toilet, handwashing facilities and shelter are located nearby.

One temporary site suggestion was land between Barton Hill Car Park and the band hall.

It was resolved that “the committee supports the groups request and undertakes research to find a suitable location to be decided by the ROSE Committee by the end of this year”, with councillors Tim Cook and Jeanne Loader volunteering to join Cllr Lewer and office administrator Zoe Moxham in bringing the scheme to life.