New memory cafe for people with dementia is set to launch at Plumptre Hall, Eastwood. Pictured are from left Linda Batchford, Diane Rowley and Janis Lynch
New memory cafe for people with dementia is set to launch at Plumptre Hall, Eastwood. Pictured are from left Linda Batchford, Diane Rowley and Janis Lynch

Diane Rowley is the secretary at Church Street Medical Centre in Eastwood, and has decided to open a ‘memory cafe’ for people suffering with Dementia. The 51-year-old felt there was not enough on offer in Eastwood for people suffering the disease, and their carers.

“I don’t think there is a lot to offer locally at all when it comes to Dementia services,” she said.

“I was just aware that we didn’t have a lot of support in place and I think this sort of thing should be on offer everywhere.

“It’s a well know fact that we have an ageing population now and there’s a lot of people with chronic long term conditions.

“With more support in the community we can help people live better lives,” she said.

Diane said the memory cafe, which will open in May and will run once a month from Plumptre Hall, will help people suffering Dementia and their carers to meet people in a similar situation andd will offer several benefits.

“It can help reduce isolation. They can come together and make friends and socialise.

“It’s an opportuntiy for everyone to have lunch together and there will be mental and physical activities.

“It’s a chance to share experiences. It’s beneficial for both parties to get support, so they don’t feel isolated.

“They get to meet people in a similar situation,” she added.

Diane feels the memory cafe will not only offer sufferers the help they need and the chance to meet other people with Dementia, but it will also help carers, who often don’t know where to go.

“This will be for both Dementia sufferers and their carers to come along together.

“A lot of carers find it difficult getting out and about, they feel a bit awkward and this is somewhere they can feel comfortable.”

The memory cafe will host games, jig saws, singing, and anything else to stimultae memory such as ‘reminiscent packs’.

“We will put a collection together of things from, for example, the 50s, with food labels, music, anything at all that takes people back to that era, because people can’t remember things in the present day but they often have a very clear memory of their past.”

Diane, who has worked at the surgery for four years and previously worked at Newthrope Medical Centre for 13 years, recruited 13 volunteers to help her run the cafe.

“The volunteers are retired ex-e mployees from both Church Street Surgery and Newthrope Medical centre, and a few friends as well.

“I basically just sent a text message around the people I knew,” she said.

The kind hearted secretary said she got her inspiration from a mempory cafe that is already running from Beeston.

“I have learned a lot from Beeston memory cafe, and they have shared a lot of their knowledge with me.

“I have been over there a few times. They were the inspiration behind it all really.

“Being secretary at the surgery you get to know about these things.

“I had an email from then one day and I thought I would go over and see them.

“They were inspirational. It was a great atmosphere.”