The team at Mackman has been working with Sudbury-based social enterprise, The Bridge Project, in order to raise awareness of its dementia support groups.
Our friends at The Bridge Project spotted a real need for support for people with dementia and their carers. As a result, the enterprise has launched two new drop in groups at its cafe in Gainsborough Street.
Decaf, which runs every Monday at the cafe between 11am and 3pm, launched in April. While Forget Me Not, launched in May, runs on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month, between 2pm and 4pm.
Mackman worked with The Bridge Project to share the news with the local press, to improve visibility. Mackman’s Brand and Communications Manager, Natasha Clarke, joined The Bridge Project at its launch of Forget Me Not. She spoke to some of the visitors to find out why this is such a vital service.
Mary Mugford, who cares for husband Brian, said, “It’s easy to become isolated and to stay at home all day when you’re living with dementia. These sessions really are special because they make you feel part of something, you get to join in. Coming to the Decaf sessions on a Monday at The Bridge is the highlight of our week. It’s our social life.”
Keith Read, a carer who attends with his wife Cathy, said, “These groups create a routine for us. It helps Cathy to meet with the same people and see familiar faces. You can talk to others going through a similar experience.”
Decaf and Forget Me Not were both formed when the contract for Dementia services in Suffolk changed to a new provider. This resulted in the closure of the Synergy Café and the Alzheimer’s Society Support group in Sudbury. The groups offer users the chance to engage in games, read newspapers and magazines, complete puzzles and socialise with new friends. The games are designed to stimulate the memories of people with dementia and keep their minds active, and include musical bingo with songs from different decades, quizzes, word searches and colouring, for those who want to sit back and relax.
Decaf already has a regular attendance of 20 and the Forget Me Not group is growing quickly. To raise awareness The Bridge Project held a free afternoon tea on May 19th. In order to encourage people to come along and find out more. More than 25 people visited and tucked into scones, clotted cream and jam, washed down with a cup of tea.
Service Manager at The Bridge Project, Becky Nicholson, said, “There is an image that people with dementia don’t have fun, that it’s the end of their life, but it’s certainly not. At our groups people are laughing, talking, engaging in games and conversations they enjoy.”
She added, “There is a reason behind everything we do here. It’s proven that the more mental stimulation someone has, the slower the dementia progresses. For example, we have Radio Times magazines dating back to the early 1970s. If someone recognises the events highlighted in there it may get them talking about that and other events that happened at the time or in their own lives. It’s about engaging people in activities and conversations at a level they understand. Everyone is treated equally.”
The Bridge Project is a food focused, creative social enterprise based in Sudbury. Jo Searle, Chief Executive Officer at The Bridge said, “We’re all about creating opportunities for people in our community to live well. The Decaf and Forget Me Not groups do just that. We create an environment that’s welcoming, fun and gives those living with dementia, and equally their carers, somewhere to relax, socialise and chat with others having the same experience.”
Key dates and times:
- Decaf runs every Monday between 11am and 3pm.
- Forget Me Not runs on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month, between 2pm and 4pm.
- Attendance is free for both groups, and both are held at The Bridge Project in Gainsborough Street, Sudbury.