Suffolk Garden Centre joins forces with Care Company to launch Dementia Café

A Garden Centre in Woodbridge is hosting a new Dementia Café as a way of supporting those with the illness and the people who look after them.

Suffolk Garden Centre joins forces with Care Company to launch Dementia Café

Family-owned chain Notcutts held its first successful monthly session on June 22.

The scheme is run by charity Seckford Care in Woodbridge which is working in partnership with homecare business Home Instead. It follows the success of a similar scheme in Ipswich which is hosted by John Lewis/Waitrose.

Sessions at Notcutts run from 10 am and 12 pm on the fourth Thursday of each month in the garden centre’s restaurant. The idea is that a person with dementia can enjoy coffee, cake and social interaction in the café, while their family carer has two hours of free time.

They can do their shopping or spend time elsewhere in the café and meet with friends or have a walk around the garden centre. Anyone who is living with dementia or who is a family carer is welcome.

The initiative follows feedback from family carers attending community sessions hosted by the Woodbridge Dementia Project. Notcutts Woodbridge general manager Darren Brooks said: “At Notcutts, we understand the valuable and amazing role that carers play and we want to support them in whatever we can. By hosting the dementia café, we can provide a safe place for those living with dementia, whilst their carers can enjoy browsing the store and visiting our nature walk.”

Cathy O’Brien, head of development and communities at Seckford Care and chair of the Woodbridge Dementia Project, said they were delighted that Notcutts had come on board with the project and supported the creation of the Dementia Café. They wanted people living with dementia to feel a part of their communities and be able to socialise and engage with activities in the town, she said.

Seckford Care and Home Instead have worked together on several ventures to raise awareness about dementia and run activities in the Woodbridge area. “It therefore seemed a natural progression to collaborate again to provide a dementia café to those in and around Woodbridge. Our combined knowledge and expertise will help to provide valuable support to those in Woodbridge living with dementia and their carers.”

Home Instead was involved in setting up a similar project in Ipswich. Wendy Chard, head of community engagement at Home Instead, said: “After the success of the partnership between Home Instead and Waitrose/John Lewis in Ipswich, where a dementia café is hosted once a month, this initiative is much-needed in other venues to support those living with dementia and their carers. To be a truly dementia-inclusive community, all activities and services need to think differently. With a few changes and help from volunteers, this type of facility should be available in all supermarkets, cafés and other communal spaces.”

The Woodbridge Dementia Café was awarded a small grant by East Suffolk Council to help with start-up costs, with Notcutts providing the venue and refreshments free of charge.

Cathy and Wendy are working together to deliver the service with the help of volunteers, whom they are actively seeking to recruit and train.

To book a place, please call Cathy O’Brien on 07342 058012.