ORGANISERS of a new walking group aim to provide a dementia-friendly setting for villagers.

Neilston Walkabout offers sufferers, their carers, family and friends the chance to enjoy a gentle stroll and make new friends.

The initiative is the result of work between Alzheimer Scotland, the Neilston Development Trust, East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership and ERC Carers’ Centre, in conjunction with the village’s Bank café.

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Nicola Kennedy, dementia advisor with Alzheimer Scotland, hopes the group will go from strength to strength and is encouraging people to take part.

She told the Barrhead News: “We want to make the community in East Renfrewshire more dementia friendly and aware.

“By doing this, we can continue to reduce stigma and the fear people have surrounding the disease.

“Dementia is becoming more common and touching more and more lives and we all know someone who is affected by it.”

The walk is open to anyone and organisers are keen to emphasise that you don’t have to suffer from the disease or care for someone to come along.

Ms Kennedy continued: “It is not exclusively for people with dementia. Going forward, we want to encourage as many people as possible to get involved.

“I see the benefits to people and their families and we don’t want anyone to suffer dementia on their own.”

As well as the walk, participants have the chance to enjoy a cuppa in the café, where staff from the organisations are on hand to offer support and advice.

Laura Carswell, outreach manager at Neilston Development Trust, said: “We currently run two walks as part of the East Renfrewshire Walking Network but the opportunity came up to work with Nicola.

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“Sometimes morning walks don’t suit people, so we were keen to help meet the unmet needs of people in the community.

“It is as much about enjoying the benefits of walking as it is enjoying the social side of things and having a laugh.

“The opportunity for people to be able to get out and about is valuable.”

No date has been set for the next Neilston Walkabout but details will be listed on Neilston Development Trust’s Facebook page.