A new app featuring walks to help people with dementia and their carers enjoy historic Christchurch has been launched by the town’s Red House Museum and Gardens.
Before the beginning of the pandemic, the museum, which is operated by charity Hampshire Cultural Trust, was running a programme of heritage health walks consisting of fortnightly tours around Christchurch led by museum volunteers. The walks were designed for people living with dementia and their carers, as well as anyone who felt they would benefit from a gentle stroll in the company of others. When the programme was put on hold due to the pandemic, the Red House team set to work to create a way that the walks could continue to be accessible while participants were unable to meet up in person.
The result of this creative approach is Still Strolling, a free app which has been developed with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The app features seven different routes around Christchurch: each one includes a point of interest brought to life by a short video featuring a museum team member talking about its significance and history. These include Christchurch Castle and Norman House, as well as lesser-known landmarks such as Mrs Perkins’ Mausoleum.
Each trail starts at the Red House Museum with the routes and points of interest along the way clearly marked using Google Maps. Location detection enables walkers to track their whereabouts and progress, while a map showing all points of historical interest allows users the freedom to plot their own route.
The aim of the app is to stimulate discussion, help people become more active and create an activity for people with dementia and their carers to help them feel supported in the local community.