Helen Batt
Living through Landscapes Project Support Officer

“Seeing the transformation that the underused outdoor spaces undergo is very gratifying, but the really special part of my job is seeing people living with dementia benefitting from getting outdoors on a regular basis…”

About Helen

When did you start working for LtL and what does your job involve?

I started at LtL in April 2016.

My job is incredibly varied, no two days are the same! A large piece of work is managing the Research Governance process with local authorities to gain permission to conduct our research in dementia settings. This can be quite complex as no two authorities have the same process and each have differing requirements! I have also been involved in the recruitment and selection of settings for our project, and it has been brilliant seeing dementia care homes and day centres experience our project lifecycle. Seeing the transformation that the underused outdoor spaces undergo is very gratifying, but the really special part of my job is seeing people living with dementia benefitting from getting outdoors on a regular basis, as a result of the work that we have done.

The 3 experiences that have best equipped you for this role?

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My career has been very wide ranging – being a Mum, an IT project manager, a kids Kung Fu teacher and working with Lego are just 3 examples of the things that I have done. I think this is why I enjoy my very varied role at LTL so much and my ability to continually “plate spin” has helped me manage many different tasks on the project concurrently.

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I also work for a production company producing fashion shows across the South. Our live events require a huge amount of organisation and management to make them successful and I bring these transferable skills to my role at LTL. In addition managing people from all different walks of life from models to lighting engineers, make-up artists to set builders has proved invaluable when speaking with a wide spectrum of people including care home managers, local authorities and people living with dementia.

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My favourite place in the whole world is my cottage garden, so much so that my ashes are to be scattered there when I pop my clogs! I spend hours pottering around and as a result, I really understand the value of outdoor space and time spent outside in the garden, whether it is planting and weeding or just enjoying a cup of tea.

Helen’s LtL Experience

What has been your best day at LtL and why?

My best day was quite recently when we visited a Day Centre that was celebrating the formal opening of their new garden. Seeing not only service users, but also their families, staff members and volunteers all enjoying the new space and enjoying being outdoors made it all worthwhile!

Why choose hens?

I love my chucks, their quiet clucking can be very calming and of course their eggs are delicious! I chose this photo as I would love to see hens being kept at every care home across the UK. They are wonderful birds, full of life, and with the instant ability to make us smile. Particular breeds such as Pekin bantam hens are known for being really docile, they like to be stroked and enjoy perching on people’s laps, making them the perfect therapy animal, helping to beat loneliness and depression. The experience promotes interaction and can make people who are very reserved and withdrawn want to join in and hold a chicken!
For some people who kept chickens in their youth, it brings back happy memories. I believe that service users would be more inclined to go outdoors if they can interact with animals when they get there, potentially meaning that people would be motivated to push themselves to achieve greater mobility and independence – what a hentastic thought!

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