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North Devon Memory Cafe

Posted on 20th January, 2009

The Community Mental Health Team for older people in Barnstaple were delighted to hear they have received £250 from The Chairman’s initiative fund of Devon Partnership NHS Trust. The grant was requested by Fiona Gordon a community mental health nurse who co-runs with colleagues and volunteers the Castle Café, a drop-in centre for older people and their supporters who are worried about their memory problems. “The money will be used to purchase some resources to use at the café” said Fiona. The team has been running the Memory Café for over two years now and it is clearly valued. “Most people come along for moral support, information and guidance, but we have noticed that for some experiencing dementia initiating conversation can be difficult so we thought having some ‘coffee table’ books with photographs of old Barnstaple and the locality may helpful”. The Café is run on the first Friday of the month in Barnstaple at the Castle Centre 10 – 12. The team have also started a Café in Ilfracombe, third Monday of the month at St Brannocks church, 10-12 and hope to have others opening in other local market towns. “The idea is to have a Dementia Café once a week rotating round the towns of North Devon. We are seeing the numbers of people affected by dementia increasing and find that people want information and support and they like the informality of the Cafes, it goes some way to reduce fear by increasing understanding. People who come to the Café’s say they appreciate having direct access to professionals”. “We try to have a mental health nurse experienced in dementia care, an Occupational Therapist and Social Worker along with the Carer support worker present”.

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