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Success as first memory cafe draws in crowd at Corn Exchange

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Around 18 local residents headed to the Corn Exchange to enjoy tea, coffee and cake, and a presentation of “then and now” photographs of the town given by a West Berkshire Museum volunteer, Clare Bromley.
As well as providing a social hub for those living with the disease, the memory cafe, which will run on the last Monday of each month, also provides support, advice and respite to relatives, friends and carers, with representatives from the Alzheimer’s Society and the NHS memory clinic also on hand to answer questions and offer advice.
Learning and participation coordinator at the Corn Exchange, Joe Hornsby, said on Monday: “Today’s memory café was a true success and [demonstrated] the incredible benefit these activities can have for those living with dementia, their carers and our team of volunteers.
“Seeing such a great number of people engaging with each other in this setting was incredible, with people coming quite a distance just to take part in these wonderful activities.”
One carer, who asked not to be named, attended with her patient, Val, and said: “I’ve been working with Val for four months and I have never seen her open her eyes.
“Today, as she came into the room, her eyes lit up and she responded extremely well to the welcoming and comforting environment.”
The memory cafe is one way in which the Corn Exchange Newbury is helping to make Newbury a “dementia friendly town”, following the launch of the Newbury Dementia Action Alliance in June.
The scheme is funded by the Big Lottery Fund, which also provided dementia-based training for staff and volunteers involved.
The next event will be held in the Corn Exchange Balcony Bar on February 23, between 10.30am and 12.30pm.
For more information, visit www.cornexchangenew.com or call 0845 5218 218.

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