Australia’s first Dementia Friendly Forest and Sensory Trail has opened at Woowookarung Regional Park on the outskirts of Ballarat. The opening of the trail in June marked the culmination of a 3-year sponsorship by CDC Victoria in partnership with major bus industry suppliers, Volvo Bus Australia, and CMV Truck & Bus Group.
The partnership supported Parks Victoria by providing funds for several large boulders and the specialised placement of these rocks that weigh up to 700kg each. The sponsorship contributed $60,000 to the project, funding the purchase and placement of these large stones to form several conversation circles along the trail.
CDC Victoria CEO Jeff Wilson attended the launch event on 25 June along with CDC Ballarat SDM Andrew Wilson, CDC Victoria Community Engagement & Communications Coordinator Grant Banks, Volvo Bus Australia Regional Service Manager Sam Compasso and CMV Truck & Bus Sales Manager Volvo Buses Anthony Fisicaro.
Constructed by Parks Victoria, the sensory trail was co-designed by people living with dementia and their carers, Ballarat community health groups, the Department of Health and Human Services, and Dementia Australia.
The project was initiated by dementia-awareness advocate and co-founder of the Bigger Hearts Dementia Alliance Ballarat, Anne Tudor, who lost her partner to dementia recently.
The all-abilities sensory trail wends through native bushland and is designed to stimulate positive memories, feelings and sensations for people living with dementia. It offers visitors an experience in nature that is accessible for wheelchair users and their carers, people with assistance dogs, and groups from residential aged care facilities.
CDC Victoria is dedicated to achieving positive social and environmental outcomes that go beyond compliance to minimise environmental impacts and deliver positive social outcomes.