Memory café grateful for National Lottery support
15:53 29 August 2014
A bid to preserve the stories of Sidmouth’s dementia sufferers with a cash boost from the National Lottery netted nearly 2,500 votes – which in another year would have been enough to win funding.
The Sid Valley Memory Café was one of the smallest setups in the running for £2,000, up against massive museums and an indoor market.
Television exposure threw the issue into the public domain, so while they did not win, the organisers plan to take full advantage of their raised profile.
“There are no prizes for third place but we can certainly hold our heads up high,” said project volunteer Rachel Johnstone. “If more people are aware of the memory café and think it’s somewhere they or someone they care for would benefit from, then it’s job done.
“We are so fortunate to have the support of the Herald and the local community and I really would like to thank everyone.”
Rachel helped to lead the application for Moments in Time, the memory café’s project that uses reminiscence trips and nostalgia to make dementia sufferers feel valued for who they are and the memories they have to share.
Their stories of growing up in Sidmouth have been compiled online and in hard copies, which are available at Paragon Books.
John Summerside, the chairman of volunteers at the memory café, said: “We should be downhearted but we aren’t – it’s like little David has taken on six Goliaths.”
He described Rachel as ‘an inspiration’ as she came in from outside to run the project with Angela Thompson.
The group had already received £8,500 in lottery funding, but that is just a fraction of the millions awarded to some of the other entrants.
“Two thousand pounds would have gone a long way for us,” John added.
The memory café meets at Twyford House every Wednesday from 2.15pm to 4pm. There is no need to book.
It is about to publish a booklet of local guidance for dementia sufferers from the first day of their diagnosis.