This winter, work will get underway at the National Trust’s Peckover House and Gardens in Wisbech, to transform the Reed Barn into a safe place where people living with dementia, their families and carers, can share experiences, gain new skills and take a break from caring responsibilities. It is hoped the Reed Barn will open in May 2022, following successful test events earlier this year.
The EU funded pilot project is called MONUMENT (MOre NUrturing and More Empowerment Nested in Technology) and will see the National Trust work with colleagues from across Europe.
The approach is based on the principles of the Dutch Odenshuis model, which offers a place and a voice for people living with dementia, their families and carers. The aim of the project is to provide information, advice and a meeting place, as well as somewhere informal carers can spend time relaxing and socialising with those in similar situations.
At Peckover, there will be an added focus on nature by making the garden a central part of the experience.
Project Manager for MONUMENT, Tom Bailey, said: “For people with dementia and their carers, historic spaces, collections and stories can prompt and stimulate discussion, encourage outdoor exploration, and offer a vital connection to the world around them.
“Throughout the project we will test new approaches and technologies, as we explore what more we can do to improve the experience of visiting, for people living with dementia and their informal carers. We hope this will increase access to nature and heritage for more people and ensure everyone feels welcome at Peckover.
“We look forward to sharing our learning and analysis with project partners in France, England, Belgium and the Netherlands.”
The National Trust’s staff and volunteers will be working closely with local groups and charities to welcome informal carers and their loved ones from Wisbech and its surrounding villages.
By offering a variety of activities and social interventions, along with the opportunity to gain advice, information and friendship, the National Trust are hoping that carers will become equipped with the tools and resilience to care for their loved ones at home for longer.
General Manager for the National Trust’s Peckover House, Russel Clement, said:
“Formerly ‘Bank House’ Peckover is named eponymously for the family which lived here during its heyday. The Peckovers were philanthropists and dedicated community-led campaigners who contributed so much to the community in Wisbech.
“The National Trust is all about people and the benefits of access to nature, beauty and heritage and we want everyone to be able to experience our places and get involved in our cause.
“This project is entirely in keeping with the Peckover spirit and is one of a number of partnership projects which we’re working on across the house, gardens and estate over the next few years.”
People living with dementia, and their families and carers, are invited to join one or more Focus Groups being held at Peckover, to share ideas and discuss how the project could best support them.
Focus groups will be held on Wednesday 15 December, Wednesday 19 January and Thursday 27 January. If you, or someone you know would like to attend, please book a free place at
The Focus Groups are being supported by Ageable. Ageable Founder, Alice Osborne, said:
“We are really excited to support the National Trust on this innovative project, to help them engage with people living with dementia and their carers, and to work together on creating a new dementia-friendly community space in Wisbech.”
The EU Regional Development fund is providing financial support for the project via the Interreg Two Seas Programme.
To find out more visit https://www.interreg2seas.eu/en/MONUMENT