Dementia memory cafe launches in South Shields

A dedicated memory cafe for people living with dementia has been launched in South Shields.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 13 June, 2019, 10:45
Ocean Choices new Forget Me Not dementia cafe with Mayor Norman Dick and Ken Reay

The ‘Forget-me-not’ memory cafe opened on Wednesday, June 12, at Chuter Ede in Biddick Hall, designed to help those with early to middle stage dementia and their spouse or carer.

Held once a fortnight at the centre, it will provide an opportunity for those living with the challenges of the illness to socialise in a relaxing environment, with entertainment such as guest speakers, live music and singing.

Ocean Choices new Forget Me Not dementia cafe. With Mayor Norman Dick, Mayoress Jean Williamson and Kris Hurst

The memory cafe is run by Ocean Choices, a not for profit Community Interest Company which provides creative activities and opportunities for people with learning disabilities in South Tyneside.

Founder of Ocean Choices, Martin Wray said: “We have worked with those with learning disabilities for 10 years now, but have been more and more concerned about the number of people who live with dementia and don’t have the opportunity to socialise, to keep the limited amount of skills that they have going, and to ensure that they don’t feel isolated.

“We felt that we should be using our organisation fill that gap.”

Ocean Choices also runs a day service for dementia sufferers, as well as providing support for carers, including setting up a hair and beauty salon which offers free beauty treatments.

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Ocean Choices new Forget Me Not dementia cafe. Mayor Norman Dick with dementia mentor Joanne Butler

He said: “The carers of someone with dementia also need some support, so we are providing a range of beauty treatments free for carers, so they can come and feel good about themselves.

“We think they are special too.”

Around 30 people attended the launch of the ‘Forget-me-not’ cafe.

Mr Wray added: “We hope that we can go from strength to strength, but we would like the people who come and their carers to be involved in its planning.

"It’s their place, and if they can feel some ownership of it, it helps keep the sense of purpose and independence, which can often be taken away.”

The cafe will be held every two weeks on Thursday, June 20, from 1pm-3pm, Thursday, July 4, Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 30.