The salon team at KH Hair Arnold in Nottingham has pledged a year of support to help a group of volunteers run a memory café for people living with dementia.
The Sherwood Memory Café is a friendly and supportive place for those living with dementia in the community to enjoy time together with those who support them. It is held at the Sherwood Methodist Church on the second Wednesday of each month and KH Hair has agreed to pay the cost of one whole year’s room hire.
Alan Bush, who leads the café’s committee of volunteers, says the support will mean such a lot to the group which has been self-funding since June 2023. “For KH Hair to offer to pay our room hire for a whole year is just amazing,” he says. “It means that the money saved can go directly to help pay for refreshments and activities that our members really enjoy.”
Attending a memory cafe and talking to people in the same situation can trigger mental stimulation and provide an informative and friendly space to answer any questions they may have. According to the Alzheimer’s Society website, ‘99% of people who go along to dementia cafés say that it has provided them with useful information’.
Visitors to the memory café are welcomed with free tea, coffee, biscuits and home-made cakes, while they benefit from a general chat before taking part in a number of games, a raffle and a good old sing-along. Alan says the Alphabet Game is a particular favourite, along with Bingo, cards and a general knowledge prize quiz.
“Everyone really enjoys the sessions.” says Alan. “The café gives members and their carers a chance to meet new people and have some fun. Vitally, it also gives carers valuable time to relax and have some quality time for themselves, knowing their loved ones, or clients, are in safe hands.”
The team at KH Hair Arnold has been raising money for dementia and Alzheimer’s charities since 2018 by holding special events in the salon including cake sales and dress up days. It began when salon manager, Helen Stilwell’s father was diagnosed with dementia and she wanted to gain an understanding of how the condition might develop. Helen studied to gain a NCFE Cache Level 2 Certificate in the ‘Principles of Dementia Care’. “I wanted to get a better awareness so I could support my Dad,” she says. “But I also thought it would enable me to help clients to have a more relaxed and dementia-friendly experience when having their hair done.”
Salon manager, Dawn Bramhall has been supporting the café for a while and, during lockdown, joined weekly Zoom meetings to offer hair, skin and product advice to carers looking after family members with memory loss. “It means a lot for us to be able to support a small, local group which is run by hard working and dedicated volunteers. It’s been an absolute pleasure meeting members and their carers, who sometimes struggle to meet and talk to different people. You can see how much coming to the café means to them and it’s an honour to be involved.”
Members of the café have additional treats to look forward to later this year as Alan and his team have arranged discounted trips for them to enjoy. “On 15th November, we are taking 39 of our members out to the Blue Diamond Garden Centre in East Bridgford for one of their famous high teas.” he says. “And, in December, we’re off to the Nottingham Playhouse to see Cinderella. Oh yes we are!”
The Sherwood Memory Café is held between 1pm and 3pm and new members are always welcome.