Skip to content

The Damsons group at Peckover

Damsons members chatting in the garden at Peckover
Damsons members chatting in the garden at Peckover | © NTI

The Reed Barn at Peckover House has been home to the Damsons group since 2022, and provides a safe and inclusive place for people living with dementia, their families and their carers.

About Damsons

The Damsons group was created for people living with dementia and their loved ones with the aim of giving its member an opportunity to socialise, share experiences or take a break from caring responsibilities.

The calm setting of The Reed Barn, set within the tranquil gardens of Peckover house offer a calm and relaxing space for people to gather information and advice and socialise with those in a similar situation.

Meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings and afternoons, the house and gardens are a central part of the experience. Combining nature and heritage-based craft activities, each session also offers a chance to listen to music, reminisce, chat, enjoy a cup of tea or have a stroll around the beautiful gardens. Throughout the year, the programme also features guest visitors and events.

Helping to encourage friendships, offering support for informal carers, and empowering people living with dementia to remain at home for as long as possible are all based on the principles of the Dutch Odenshuis model key to the setting up of the group.

If you support a family member or friend who lives with mild to moderate dementia who loves nature and you would like to find out more about joining Damsons, please call us on 01945 583463 or email

Sessions run on a Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am to 12pm and from 1pm to 3pm

Visitors relaxing inside The Reed Barn at Peckover House, Cambridgeshire
Inside the Reed Barn at Peckover, home to the Damsons group | © National Trust/Paul Harris

Tackling dementia, together

By offering a variety of activities and social interventions, along with the opportunity to gain advice, information, and friendship, we're hoping that carers will become equipped with the tools and resilience to care for their loved ones at home for longer.

General Manager for the National Trust’s Peckover House, Donna Baldwin, said:

“Formerly ‘Bank House’, Peckover is named eponymously for the family which lived here during its heyday. The Peckover’s were philanthropists and dedicated community-led campaigners who contributed so much to the community in Wisbech.

“The National Trust is all about people and the benefits of access to nature, beauty and heritage and we want everyone to be able to experience our places and get involved in our cause.

“This project is entirely in keeping with the Peckover spirit and is one of a number of partnership projects which we’re working on across the house, gardens and estate over the next few years.”

Damsons transforms lives...

Interacting gives me a feeling of community and happiness” Person living with dementia.

It saved my life.” - Person living with dementia.

It’s a lifeline to be with others in the same position.” Carer

Happy faces when we arrive at the gate. A pleasant walk through the garden to the Reed Barn, a chance to chat about where we are. A warm welcome with a cuppa when we enter the barn.” Person living with dementia.

There is a lovely calmness as people settle in, chat to each other, and find out which activities need doing. Everyone naturally fits into something they want to do.” Carer.

Created by community, for the community

Since opening in July 2022, Damsons has welcomed local residents to the group as regular attendees, helping shape our annual programme of activities. Several local community partnerships and collaborations are now part of our regular sessions including the Active Fenland/Love to Move team, local primary school children and staff from local care homes too.

Project funding

The Damsons group is currently made possible through AIM Connected Communities, funded by DCMS Know Your Neighbourhood Fund via Arts Council England.

The project was originally set up under the Social Innovation Theme of the Interreg 2 Seas Programme. Interreg was an opportunity for organisations from different EU Member States (and the UK) to work together in addressing problems that are common across national and/or physical boundaries. For the National Trust, the EU Regional Development Fund provided £197,758 towards the total cost of the project via the Interreg 2 Seas Programme.