Diversity is a word we hear a lot about these days and at The Red Shed it’s something we take very seriously. It’s the understanding that each individual is unique, and recognising their individual differences. These differences can be around things like ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.

Of course it’s easy to tick boxes, ✔ yes we have participants from different ethnic backgrounds, ✔ yes we roughly have a 50:50 split between men and women, ✔ yes we have same sex couples attending our groups – and we can add…..those with learning difficulties, physical disabilities and different age groups to the diversity of folk at The Red Shed.

We have an Equality and Diversity Policy in place so all in all we probably look pretty good on paper when it comes to this issue.

However – is that really enough?

While we have been looking into the subject of diversity and dementia we have spoken to lots of different organisations and found that there is a lot of research going on – which is excellent news. The Red Shed Project has offered itself as a resource to the University of Essex, so maybe we will be a part of some more serious stuff.

In the meantime, we have learned a lot about the importance of language and will be using this to try and ensure that our leaflets, social media, web page ….. and blogs….are inclusive and don’t make assumptions about people. For example, we often talk about memory triggers in the garden and in the years we have worked with people living with dementia we have heard

  • how coriander is a reminder of selling herbs on the streets of Recife in Brazil,
  • growing squashes bought back memories of working in fields of squash or ‘kaddu’ as a child in India
  • collecting rose petals to make perfume for mum.

All very different and diverse memories and each one allowing the participant to enjoy a moment of reminiscence.

Our service is based on the principles of Horticultural Therapy and this includes ensuring that any activity is adapted to the individuals in the groups, so that they are able to engage to their full potential. This is basically going back to the beginning of this blog and understanding that each individual is unique, and recognising their individual differences.

As long as we keep that in the forefront of everything we do, diversity at The Red Shed Project will simply be everyday life……..