LANCASHIRE based charity CAST have opened a Reminiscence cafe in Bacup to help support dementia.
The cafe opened on the 7th of September and has been open for six weeks free to the public. Located in the Central Methodist Church, it is open every Thursday and they are now appealing for it to be open for longer.
Speaking to June Worsley, organiser of the Reminiscence cafe, she said: “The inspiration came because there is nothing in Bacup for people living in social isolation or for people living with Dementia.
“There used to be a lovely cafe in the Mill in Rossendale and the memory team from Lancashire NHS used to meet there once a month and people living with Dementia and their carer/partner would go along.”
June explained that although the cafe was popular, it could sometimes be to much for people suffering with Dementia as it was very small and was often full, which can be too overwhelming.
The cafe came to an end last Christmas after the floods that took over Rossendale forced it to shut down. It was then that people had no where to go.
“We decided we had to do something but we have boundary issues in Rossendale, Bacup people do not like to cross the Bacup boundary.
“We agreed that we need somewhere in Bacup and we set off trying to get funding for it and then eventually we received funding for a six-week pilot.”
June is the chair person of the charity CAST, who are a regeneration charity with concerns of the well-being of Rossendale’s community and the preservation of its heritage. The charity do many fundraising events to try and raise as much as they can for their community.
“We did a project a couple of years ago, making memory boxes which was again Dementia fuelled. It was all about getting people, even if they do not have Dementia, to make a memory box.
“I would tell everybody to make a memory box, I am doing mine now. So should you end up later on in life in a care home or on your own, you have got a memory box there and it is all about you. So, if you are in a care home people can see it, and then they know who you are and what you like”.
June also told us that there is a leaflet in the memory box that you can fill in, so that the people who are taking care of you know the person you was before you started to forget things.
“We thought it was a wonderful thing to do and really inspirational. It got us looking at what people with Dementia really needed.”
June’s personal inspiration came from her Grandma who sadly passed away from Dementia aged 91, which she described that as being absolutely heart breaking.
“It is a terrible disease and it is heart breaking for people to have to go through it.”
The 16 weeks the cafe has ends next Thursday, when they will be celebrating their Christmas party. All of the staff have been doing their bit to try and raise enough money to stay open for longer.
June told us that they think they have just enough to cover one more month at the Methodist Church, but they desperately need more.
“We have applied to a couple of places for funding but sadly we have been turned down, so one of our trustees has got a bit of a giving page set up trying to raise money.”
Lavinia Todd who works at the cafe by giving the customers her full attention by singing and playing games started a raffle and all the money that has been made from the raffle is saved up to help the cafe.
June said they have contacted a couple of councillors asking them to help out, but they are really looking for a sponsor as they need one to help cover the cost.
Whilst Lavinia Todd and cater manager Nobuhle Dube are paid members of staff, the cafe has had a fair few volunteers however, all expect one did not last.
“The volunteers are really difficult to get hold of so if we had a third member of staff it would make life easier for those two.
“I am here as well but there are times when I am running about doing other things and they just need that extra person.”
The cafe has been very successful, and it would be a shame for it to close. The cafe are aiming to get a sponsor and an extra member of staff for next year.
“It has had a great impact, we have a chap who come sin and he is on his own, he does not speak much to us at all.
“He comes in and he has a coffee and he does not even sit down, he has a bit of company with us and it just really cheers him up.
“We also have another lady who spends her time sitting on the benches around Bacup. She comes in now and sits with us instead, so she is warm and she is safe”.
June explained that they really want to keep the cafe going as there is nothing else in Bacup for people with Dementia or social isolation.
“People get used to coming and we have some people who come now from a local home and they look forward to it.
“The more they can talk and remember things and have habits, the slower the memory tends is disappear.”
If you can help CAST keep the cafe open in any way, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07805093348.
Visit their website here.