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LinkLiving Dementia cafe marks National ‘Time for a Cuppa’ week

Published on 04/03/2015

Volunteers and members at the ReealLiving cafe

The RealLiving Café, based in Torryburn Community Hall, Dunfermline is run by volunteers and co-ordinated by 2 Volunteer Workers and helps family carers and people with dementia to live positive and fulfilling lives in Dunfermline and the West Fife villages. 

With health and social care services integrating in one of the biggest transformations seen in a generation, the RealLiving Café is an example of the innovative partnership approach which is already being taken in Fife as NHS Fife, Social Care and Third and Independent care service partners prepare to work as one team under the emerging new Health and Social Care Partnership.

The cafe is helping to beat loneliness and isolation

In the 3 years it has been running the project is fast becoming more than a café, as Elaine Meakin, Volunteer Worker at the café explains: “Having a social and vibrant space for people living with dementia to come to is proving a real tonic to beating isolation and loneliness.  With such a buzz about the place, teachers from Torryburn Primary School asked if pupils could pop in to chat to the older generation to help pupils learn about the topics and subjects they teach in school such as war time rationing, history of the local area and about life and what things used to be like when they were young. Some of our members used to go to the same school as pupils today which always draw gasps of surprise.  They share photographs and stories over a cuppa and a biscuit.” 

Sylwia Nadolny, Volunteer Worker added: “The café and service is a real lifeline for the local community whilst offering valuable respite to carers - who are in most cases family members.  We feel we are building real and lasting community connections as we break down stereotypes.  Both the older and younger generation leaves the café full of energy and enthusiasm; it is really wonderful to see.” 

Local Teacher Sheona Wedge said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to have a better awareness of the people in our community and learn to become involved and responsible citizens.”

As one of the members, Fergie Greig sums up: “ I wouldn’t be without the café.  It is a great weekly social event and a good way to be in company with others. It’s really well run and the Volunteers look after us very well when we are there.  It makes such a difference for all of us – it is much better than sitting in the house all the time looking at the square box in the corner.”

The service recruits and supports individuals to become volunteers who can then be matched with an older person to help them attend a social group, provide help with simple practical tasks or just to meet to go shopping or go out for a coffee.

Find out more about the cafe

The project is always looking for volunteers to help out and donations to keep it running. If you would like to volunteer as a Befriender or Driver, make a donation, or would like more information about the project, please contact Elaine Meakin  or Sylwia Nadolny on 01592 644048

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