Community figures have come together to celebrate a significant turnaround for Prestwick beach. A special event held by South Ayrshire Council and Dementia Friendly Prestwick saw people take to the sands for the first time for an assisted walk taking place for Dementia Awareness Week.
Prestwick beach was recently awarded a Scottish Beach Award for cleanliness by Keep Scotland Beautiful, while the bathing waters were upgraded to 'good' by SEPA. The recognition follows work between community organisations and South Ayrshire Council to clear debris from the beach which had built up over a period of years. Around 3,000 tonnes of waste has been removed from the sand since September 2017.
As part of Dementia Awareness Week #DAW2018, Dementia Friendly Prestwick held its first organised walk along the seafront, which also included Prestwick beach. The walk leaders had all received dementia awareness training.
Councillor Ian Cochrane, South Ayrshire Council's Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment said it was encouraging to see the beach being so well used, "Prestwick beach has been transformed in the last 12 months thanks to a productive partnership between the Council and the community.
"We're happy to support Dementia Friendly Prestwick for the first of their assisted walks and hope to see these become a regular fixture as more people return to the beach in the months ahead."
Julie Twaddell from Dementia Friendly Prestwick said, "It's great to have the beach back to its best and our walks with people living with Dementia will help to support them to get back out into their own communities.
"We want to remove barriers which prevent people from enjoying things they used to do and as older people can feel the cold more significantly than younger people, we'll be offering the use of specially heated clothing to make sure people enjoy the experience."
There are plans to held similar walks every Monday at 11am from 18 June.