A North East Community Interest Company in Gosforth, Newcastle has launched a new initiative to help bring the past back to life for people who live with dementia.
The project, aptly named Silverline Memories has begun hosting regular meet-ups to help those living with the condition rediscover memories and emotions.
The weekly group dubbed Dementia Café, which has received funding from the Comic Relief NE Dementia Fund, welcomes not only those living with a dementia diagnosis, but their carers too.
The features of the organisation include reminiscence based therapy and a wide range of regular multi-sensory activities which aim to improve memory and cognitive function.
Director of Silverline Memories and Dementia Friend Champion, Sandra Hastings said: “The Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Report of 2012 revealed that 67% of people with dementia do not always feel part of the community, with 61% feeling lonely some or all of the time. I felt it was so important to introduce this scheme to help some of the most vulnerable in our society.
“It’s the simple things that matter so much to people and I under-estimated the impact the café would have. People have said they have had more help from this group than any medical professional.”
She added: “I’m so grateful for the support of the volunteers I have, without whom we could not do any of the work we do.”
In addition to the cafés, Silverline Memories has undertaken a choir named The Silverline Singers, where older people, those with dementia and their carers can take part.
The choir is led by vintage singer, Hildy Harland, and is designed to use music to help stimulate memories.
Through these activities, the social enterprise sets out to increase the self-esteem of people with dementia, and help carers feel supported by providing them with a network.
Eileen Moore, wife and carer for her husband Barry who has dementia said: “The Silverline Café is such a nice and friendly place, my husband really enjoys it.
“It gives you a real quality of life, and although my husband doesn’t remember everything, when I tell him we’re going to the café his face lights up. He gets to meet lots of other people, and it provides support for me as well.”
She added: “I’ve seen a real change in him since going. It’s unbelievable.”
Each session lasts two hours and is based at St Aidan’s Church Community Room in Brunton Park, Gosforth. Entry is £2 which includes refreshments and activities.
For more information please visit: www.silverlinememories.com