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Aberfeldy’s Dementia Friendly Garden Keeps People Talking

LISTEN: Janette Barrie explains how to space works

For over 20 years Aberfeldy resident Miriam Proud visited Aberfeldy Fire Station to secretly plant and care for beautiful flowers to brighten the days of those who passed by or stopped outside to chat.

Now, in June 2021, Mrs Proud has been invited back to Aberfeldy Fire Station to cut the ribbon of the new dementia friendly garden founded between the fire station and Dementia Friendly Aberfeldy, aptly named as the Blether Station.

As part of Dementia Friendly Aberfeldy’s (DFA) mission to improve daily life for those with dementia and their carers, there was a need recognised to create a safe social space in which people could spend half an hour chatting.

Janette Barrie from DFA explained:

“Miriam used to live across the road, about 20 years ago and she had lived there for over 20 years and when she was doing her own garden, she would pop over to the fire station and plant some lovely plants and the fire officers would come in in the morning and there would be some lovely planets there and that nobody would know who actually did it.

“We could say that Miriam was a first secret guerrilla gardener in Aberfeldy.

“We identified that there was lack of seating from the town square up to the campus and we noticed a couple of people stopping at a wall, just beside the fire station to get have a breather before they continue the journey uphill.

The DFA approached Watch Commander, Matt McLay at Aberfeldy Fire Station who was keen to provide as much help and support as he could.

Janette continued:

“Our initial discussions were about a bench perhaps that people could sit down and have a break before they continue up the hill and then he offered us the use of some wasteland right beside the fire station.

“We’ve got a lovely welcome poem written by someone local just welcoming people to the Blether Station. I’m not going to recite the poem, so you need to go along and actually read it with lovely comments from people posted on the Facebook page and I really thank them for that.”

Watch Commander Stephen Dolzanski presented Mrs Proud with flowers at the launch of the Blether Station for her contribution and inspiration of this key resource.

WC McLay added:

“The Blether Station is a great example of community coming together to help others.

“We’re delighted that this area of rubble has been transformed into a beautiful and useful space.

“We’re looking forward to seeing people when they stop for a rest and we might even join them for a blether and offer some vital fire safety advice.”

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