The ‘Humble Shed’ is transforming the lives of dementia patients at Heart of Kent Hospice

Categories: Care and Community Engagement.

A new dementia service at Heart of Kent Hospice began in 2015 when Comic Relief funded a specialist dementia post for nurse Tracy Jackson (Head of Dementia Services).

Now, two old sheds at the Hospice have been transformed into a multi-functional workshop which is having a positive impact on dementia patients.

The new workshop is now used in a unique six-week programme called ‘Making Memories© which was launched in 2017 by the Hospice Dementia  Team and now takes place continually throughout the year.

The new multi-functional workshop nicknamed ‘Men in a Shed Project’, was created with sponsorship from several businesses who together transformed the old sheds, which now house one of the most popular activity areas within the ‘Making Memories©’ programme at the Hospice.

Dementia volunteers are helping patients enjoy activities including repairing planters and benches as well as making bird tables to take home.


Tracy said, “The nickname can be a little misleading, as all our patients, men and women, enjoy the ‘Men in a Shed Projects’. 

Sometimes, our patients ask if they come back again the day after they have been in our workshop, making and repairing things, as they have enjoyed it so much!

Our unique ‘Making Memories©’ programme allows everyone to make a reminiscent memory box using things that are important to them; this could be an ornament or a postcard for instance.

The course educates carers on how patients can benefit from some of the ground-breaking dementia research, including learning about ‘Sundowning Behaviour’ and the benefits of using a day light bulb, which mimics daylight, to help with behaviour often experienced by dementia patients as the evening light fades.

At the end of the course, the participants are given details of helpful groups where they can continue to benefit from activities they have enjoyed and are also provided with contact details for continued one to one support by the Hospice Dementia Team.”

Rachel Street, Chief Executive said,

“At Heart of Kent Hospice we recognise that seeing people early in their diagnosis means that we can help them live well and independently for as long as they can by providing award-winning specialist dementia support services to both patients and their families.

We are currently supporting 461 patients living with dementia.”

Heart of Kent Hospice has also restarted their popular Dementia Café, which had been closed due to the pandemic. The Dementia café is open to patients of Heart of Kent Hospice and any family coping with the challenges of dementia in Maidstone, Aylesford, Tonbridge and Malling, and the surrounding villages.

The Dementia Café is held on the first Saturday of every month, 10:30am – 12:30pm. Here you can meet others in a similar situation, find out what support is available and ask advice from our Dementia Nurse Specialists.  The next Dementia Café will take place on Saturday 6 August 2022.  You can register to attend by contacting the Dementia Team on 01622 792200 or email



About Heart of Kent Hospice

Heart of Kent Hospice has been providing free, compassionate, end-of-life care to people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones in Maidstone, Aylesford, Tonbridge and Malling and the surrounding towns and villages for the past 31 years.

The Hospice has built an excellent reputation within the local community for the quality of its care, which has been further endorsed by the Care Quality Commission who awarded us with an overall rating of ‘Outstanding’ following an inspection in February 2017.

Our vision is for everyone living with a terminal illness in our community to achieve the best quality of life. We are committed to achieving this by enabling them to live in comfort, with independence and dignity to the end of their lives, and to support those closest to them.

Last year the Hospice cared for over 1,700 patients and their families in their own homes or at our Aylesford-based Hospice. Our services cost £5 million a year to run, and we depend heavily on our loyal supporters, whose generous donations and fundraising activity account for £3 out of every £4 spent on our services.

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There are lots of ways people can support Heart of Kent Hospice.  Find out more here

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