On Friday 19 May, the new Mayor, Sarah Barber, in her first official capacity as Mayor of Ipswich, officially launched a Dementia friendly cafe at the Whitehouse Baptist Church called “Friday Friends”.
The cafe has been set up in partnership between the North West Ipswich Big Local Trust (NWI BLT) & ActivLives. This is an exciting new venture for all those involved and was the idea of the Seniors’ Group of the Big Local Trust who identified a need in their community to support those people living with Dementia and their carers.
Local volunteers, mainly from the BLT Seniors’ Group, run the cafe and provide a warm and welcoming environment, refreshments, a two course lunch and activities from 10.30am until 2.00pm for those living with Dementia and their carers.
At the official opening, the Mayor was greeted by Louise Bernard, Project coordinator, the Lead Volunteer, Maureen Clark and ex-Mayor Albert Grant, who also volunteers at the café. The Major was introduced to all the volunteers who come along each week giving their time and expertise. The food cooked by Pat Prior, the cafe’s resident cook, is very much appreciated by customers and plates are always wiped clean!
The Mayor was also introduced to those individuals instrumental in getting the cafe up and running from the BLT community and Activlives. At the launch, Sharon Harkin and Amy Barratt, Community Engagement Managers at the East of England Co-op, presented a hamper, lots of tea and coffee and a certificate from the outgoing Mayor in recognition of the cafe’s contribution to Ipswich becoming a Dementia Friendly town.
A cake was cut by the Mayor to mark the official launch and everyone enjoyed a slice with a cup of tea or coffee. The Mayor was also shown the type of activities that happen at the cafe. At the launch there was a 1950’s kitchen cupboard and wardrobe filled with hats and clothes from the 1940’s to 1970’s. The articles provided much discussion and “reminiscence” as everyone has a memory of when they “wore a hat like that” or what was their favourite biscuit that was kept in “a tin like that”. But most importantly, it creates lots of laughter and chatter!