Alz Cafe, which provides a meeting place for dementia sufferers and their carers has relaunched in St Cuthbert’s Parish Centre, Walkergate.
The cafe, run by Berwick and District Friends of Dementia, provides a meeting place for persons living in Berwick and the surrounding district who have a diagnosis of dementia as well as their carers.
Berwick’s mayor, Councillor Isabel Hunter, opened the cafe, saying: “It’s a brave step you have taken, and I will support you one hundred per cent.”
The cafe takes place every Thursday morning, from 10.30 to 12.30. It offers a range of informal activities, from skittles and indoor curling to music sessions and karaoke.
It was originally started by the Alzheimers Society, but that body is no longer able to find funding for it.
Despite that blow, regular attendees have decided to form a voluntary group and a small committee to run the cafe using local funding.
The depth of local support was evident as Iain Stewart of the King’s Head Hotel presented a cheque for £1,000 raised by local darts players.
Alz Cafe chairman, Derek Forshaw, said: “It has been a seamless transition, really, for the regular attendees. We are delighted that the mayor of Berwick opened our cafe, and we see this as a further step towards Berwick obtaining the status of a dementia-friendly town.”
The re-opening of the cafe comes amidst changes in Berwick’s elderly care.
Despite a three-year grant from Big Lottery ending in May this year, the Alzheimer’s Society “will continue to provide support for people with dementia and carers through our Dementia Advisor service based in Berwick.”
Berwick’s Dementia Advisors Service, operating out of the William Elder building on Castlegate, will continue to be a first port of call for those who have received or are in the process of receiving a dementia diagnosis. They can offer help in regard to making and understanding wills, and help people understand the process of awarding the power of attorney.
Dementia advisors will also help direct dementia sufferers and their carers to services offered by bodies such as Age UK and Carers Northumberland.