“DEMENTIA is a part of life for some. You didn’t ask to get it, it could happen to anybody. Don’t hide away.”
These words are the philosophy of Thornbury Memory Cafe, who celebrated their second anniversary in the town on Tuesday, March 11.
The Memory Cafe is run independently by volunteers from Thornbury and the surrounding area. The group meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month from 10.15am to 11.45am in the Thornbury Methodist Hall and are supported by the Alzheimer’s Society and financed by local donations.
The cafe offers a service for people with any form of dementia or memory loss or dementia, as well as family and friends and carers. The purpose is to bring people together and provide the opportunity to meet people in a similar situation.
John Lee from Lower Tockington Road, Tockington is a volunteer with the memory cafe and emphasised that it is not a clinic.
He said: “Thornbury Memory Cafe exists to provide a social meeting place for those affected by memory loss. Since its beginning it has become popular and is still growing in numbers.
“The cafe has a very welcoming atmosphere with activities such as painting and table games which aim to develop the needs of those who attend.
“Anyone with any degree of memory disablement is welcome to come along. Up to 40 people may be there together with a big band of volunteers. On Tuesday we had over 50 so we had to get more chairs out."
John said there is usually a short event lasting about 15 minutes which may be related to memory concerns or a purely social subject.
“This week the Mayor came and gave a speech. We had a birthday cake to celebrate our two year anniversary and a sing along with the patients. We also spent time decorating Easter eggs for a competition and held a raffle. There was also lots of coffee, tea and chat.”
John said that a friendly chin-wag was an important element of the cafe.
“They all enjoy coming along to meet their friends and a have a chat,” he said.
The memory Cafe is free to attend but there is a donation box for anyone who wishes to contribute.
John said: “It’s not just for people with Alzheimer’s but for anyone with progressive memory loss."
For details call chairman Audrey Green on 01454 412619 or 01454 412941.