Miles Platting dementia cafe
Reverend Sue Williams of Trinity Methodist Church in Miles Platting became aware of the social issues surrounding dementia following a talk she attended about dementia and churchgoers. As a result, Sue felt it was important to create a safe space for people living with dementia and their carers to meet and socialise, where they could find information about the both their local community, and the wider dementia community.
As one of the founding members of the Age Friendly Miles Platting board, Sue worked with fellow board members to develop plans for a dementia café project. Rev Sue and other volunteers at the church previously had limited knowledge of dementia. A member of the Manchester Age-Friendly Neighbourhoods team invited the Alzheimer’s Society to talk to Sue about how best to run a dementia café and she subsequently helped to arrange a ‘dementia friends’ training for herself and volunteers to develop their understanding of dementia and built the confidence needed to run the café.
The fortnightly Dementia Café launched in September 2017, supported by AFMP board members. Rev Ellie Trimble provided the catering, and age-friendly DJ Ged Reek provided the music. The launch was attended by 30 people, including the local Lord Mayor. The start-up equipment costs of the project were funded by the Age Friendly MP Board to run fortnightly. The funding also paid for food hygiene training for 3 people who ran the café. The café was advertised through all partner organisations, including Adactus Housing Spotlight magazine and the Alzheimer’s group who meet in nearby Moston.
The project has not only established a new service in Miles Platting for people living with dementia, it also provided training for local community members around how to make their community more dementia-friendly. This has allowed the community to be more responsive to the needs of people with dementia and encourage the development of further projects that have dementia in mind.
This project shows the potential of collaborative working between community organisations to create opportunities for those excluded from the existing local offer. It demonstrates how important a local champion like Reverend Williams can be recognising the needs of different people in her community, and shows how an age-friendly partnership can effectively create positive change for marginalised groups of older people.
The café is continuing and is being supported financially by the BUZZ wellbeing board, based on a joint funding application with three other community projects who work closely together. The provision of dementia-friendly training to local residents and board members is continuing to empower the community to be more responsive to the needs of people with dementia and ensure that future projects are developed with dementia in mind.
Matt Youngson, Manchester Age-Friendly Neighbourhoods programme