Dogs Trust Ilfracombe has teamed up with Age UK Devn to launch the ‘digging for dogs’ project at the West Down rehoming centre.

Dogs Trust Ilfracombe has joined forces with Age UK Devon to launch a new 'digging with dogs' project.

The project has been set up for people living with early-stage dementia and gives them the opportunity to spend time with the homeless hounds and take part in some light gardening in the beautiful grounds at the West Down-based rehoming centre.

It is hoped the sessions will help promote a sense of wellbeing as well as hoping to prevent people with dementia and their carers from feeling lonely.

It will also give them a chance to take part in familiar tasks that may bring a sense of normality to their lives.

So far, participants have created hanging baskets, as well as a sensory garden for the dogs.

Elise Watson, rehoming centre manager at Dogs Trust Ilfracombe, said: "We are delighted to be able to work together with Age UK Devon in this way.

"It was really important to us that we were able to support the new volunteers as best as possible, so we now have staff who are able to better understand dementia and what it might be like to live with it, meaning they can be more empathetic to those taking part."

Sonya Webb, North Devon community activities coordinator at Age UK Devon, added: "Gardening and dog walking provides a unique opportunity for people living with dementia to help them stay active in later life and provide them with the social benefit of meeting new people and sharing an activity with others."

Staff members at the rehoming centre have also become 'dementia friends' alongside the project.

If you are interested in the digging with dogs project, contact Elise Watson at Dogs Trust Ilfracombe on 01271 817710 or email