Lostwithiel Memory Cafe
The Lostwithiel Memory Cafe supports people living with dementia and their families
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The Memory Café will celebrate its eighth birthday in March 2018. It all started when Jo Hague, from Outlook Southwest, and Laura Walker, a Mental Health Nurse, recognised that a Memory Café would be an invaluable facility within the town of Lostwithiel.
They quickly realised that the “Go To” organisation in the Town was the Rotary Club and hence they came along to sing for their suppers at a club night. Enthusiasm from the 'ageing' Rotary membership was immediately forthcoming and a Lead Volunteer was quickly coerced into identifying what would be required. The first Café was held in March 2010 with Rotary helpers and cakes provided by Rotarians and Rotary wives.
Some eight years later, the enthusiasm remains unchanged. Martin Austen is still the Lead Volunteer and the helpers and cake-makers are still mainly Rotary wives and Rotary friends, all of whom work to a rota provided at the beginning of the year. However, the Café now also has a few regular non-Rotary helpers. In the past the Café has relied on Rotary financial support, but now grants make up most of the Café's income, together with donations from local businesses and individuals. There is no charge for anything at the Café.
The Café always tries to be innovative, with recent trips (all provided free) to the Hall for Cornwall to see a matinée performance of Jesus Christ Superstar, a river trip and a Christmas lunch at the Restormel Lodge Hotel. At normal Café meetings, the proceedings start at about 2pm on alternate Thursdays with carers and guests (those living with dementia) mingling, drinking tea and eating excellent cakes served by volunteer helpers who have all received dementia awareness training.
After about half an hour, the carers go upstairs in the Oasis area where they are able to network. Periodically, professionals in the field of dementia are there to help with any issues. The guests remain downstairs for cognitive stimulation therapy from a trained practitioner. The activities used are diverse and range from music and movement, to working with clay and other materials, together with reminiscing therapy. The Café closes at about 4 pm after having provided much appreciated respite for the carers.