In a church in North London, a group of about 40-50 people gathered on a balmy December morning for a Christmas party.
This was a part of the Memory Café run by St Cuthbert’s Church. With Near Neighbours funding, this has been running for three months and has been working to assist those suffering with Dementia and Alzheimer’s, as well as those who just want to keep their memory alert.
When I arrived, just 10 minutes after the start of the party, the place was already busy but I managed to grab Reverend Steve for a chat. He told me that he couldn’t believe how successful the café had been. It is run weekly and every week there are more people! With an original starting point of 16, they have now ballooned to about 50 people at this party.
Steve told me about how people from all over the area were attending- those from all faith backgrounds and none. They have had Sri Lankan neighbours, Jamaican neighbours, Indian neighbours, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus all attending regularly.
I learned that, for some of the attendees, it was the only time they left the house all week. Steve told me that they thought this would just be a classic Alzheimer’s/Dementia café but this has evolved to mean that it has included a community of people who feel lonely and just want to be around friendly faces.
I took some time to speak to a couple of the four or five volunteers from the church who were as amazed as Steve was at the success of the café. Hazel is one of the volunteers and she told me that they’d been conscious of how the noise levels had gone up in recent weeks as people began to laugh and enjoy themselves more and more. She said that this whole process has revealed a real need they had in their community.
The whole project is fantastic. The volunteers do their work with such care and everybody is made to feel so welcomed. They have an expert from Alzheimer’s Society who works with them to run the memory classes and, I was told by several people, is generally loved by everyone there!
The work that St Cuthbert’s is doing to bring people together and build a stronger community is amazing. They are going from success to success and we wish the very best as they put plans together to continue this wonderful work!
If you want to see more pics of this great party, take a look here!
Author: Mr Tim Burton-Jones
Date: 18 December 2015
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