Billingshurst United Reformed Church has launched a Dementia Café.
The first event, held on Saturday, was a great success, with 28 people attending, including firefighters.
Nicky Greenfield, who set up the café, said: “With several members of the congregation having dementia, the Billingshurst United Reformed Church decided to set up a Dementia Café.
“The aim was to create a safe and supportive environment locally where people with dementia, their carers and families could meet up to offer peer support to one another.”
Representatives from Alzheimer’s Society visited the church in December to talk about the Dementia Friends initiative and allow as many of the congregation and nearby residents to be trained in dementia as possible.
With the support of the church members, the café has been successfully opened. It provides a friendly atmosphere where everyone can relax, reminisce and even play the odd game of Dominoes while listening to music from the 1960s.
Old and young generations enjoyed quality time together, having fun and sharing stories.
All ages were involved in the launch, with the youngest helpers being members of the Junior Church, Nicky’s children Isla, eight, Sidney, five, and Darcy, two. The siblings, who are also Dementia Friends, having received their training through Billingshurst Primary School, enjoyed serving up cakes to the visitors.
Nicky added: “The highlight of the morning was the local fire service arriving at the café in their fire engine, to offer support and give out free fire safety advice to the people attending.”
The café will open on the second Saturday of the month, from 10am to 12pm. The next event is February 11 and all are welcome.
The vision is to create a dementia-friendly church and community. Visit www.billingshursturc.co.uk or contact church secretary Jane Matthews on 01403 786507 for more information.
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