As part of a growing initiative to tackle social isolation, Triple C are beginning their Memory Lane Cafe, in both St Christopher’s and Church of the Good Shepherd.
Held twice a month in each location, the events aim to help people over 60 reconnect with their community, by providing a place to bring people together in a welcoming environment.
Alison Barrowcliffe, Older Persons Community Worker at Triple C, told Alt Valley Voice: ‘This initiative was created out of a growing need to tackle isolation in various social groups, and a way to bring them together. The cafés are about befriending others within your community, meeting like-minded people, and making new friends.’
Loneliness affects many people, with over 9 million people in the UK admitting to having feelings of loneliness, but the worst affected group are the older generation – 51% of over 75s live alone, and 40% of older people say television is their main source of company. Research has shown that the impact of loneliness can have a massive effect on our physical health, as well as our wellbeing.
Alison said: ‘There are many people who are alone, but it doesn’t have to be that way. We know that the idea of coming to gatherings such as this can make people very anxious, and many will not come in, even if they make it all the way to the front door. That’s why we have our passionate volunteers, to make sure people are welcomed as soon as they enter, introduced to people, and reassured; we want people to know that they will not be left on their own if they come to the cafes!’
Memory Lane Café has tea, coffee, toast and teacakes served at the table, with a vintage-tea-shop-type feel to the environment. People can play board games if they wish to, or just chat – it is a relaxed, unstructured environment, designed to bring people together. ‘We hope that as people make more friends within the group, then they will then start meeting up outside of the cafes, and take advantage of some of the great trips Triple C put on, such as our one to Ryecroft Hall’, added Alison.
Memory Lane Café has received funding from the Lottery, as well as partial funding from the Steve Morgan Foundation. Triple C hope that this project will be the beginning of a larger initiative to reconnect people with their community, with the potential to introduce home visits to encourage people to engage, although it is still early days for this, yet.
The cafes have been a hit so far, with one lady, Norma, saying how much she enjoyed the lovely old fashioned tea room feel, with cups, saucers and teapots, and another lady, Cathy, saying: ‘I’ve been looking forward to my teacake all day!’
The cafes are held on 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month, 11.30am-1pm, in St Christopher’s small church hall, and every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month, 1.30pm-3pm, in Church of the Good Shepherd.
For more information, please contact Alison on: 0151 226 2992 or 07507 732446, or email on: firstname.lastname@example.org.