Cafe that is a true Lifeline

Hanna Whittle, support worker at Eliot Gardens, and Alison Brown, Lifelines cafe organiser

Hanna Whittle, support worker at Eliot Gardens, and Alison Brown, Lifelines cafe organiser

A new dementia-friendly cafe has been opened and is looking for new members.

Alison Brown, a long-time member of St James with St Thomas Church at Poolstock, has set up Lifelines, the monthly cafe at Eliot Gardens in Worsley Mesnes which launched in October.

Hanna Whittle, support worker at Eliot Gardens, and Alison Brown, Lifelines cafe organiser

Hanna Whittle, support worker at Eliot Gardens, and Alison Brown, Lifelines cafe organiser

Alison won funding from Wigan Council to set up the cafe and hopes St James will be more involved once its current refurbishment has been completed.

She said: “I am really excited about the start of Lifelines café here at Eliot Gardens. Being a regular worshipper at St James with St Thomas it felt right to go out and be “church” in the wider community of Poolstock and Worsley Mesnes which fits in with Transforming Wigan. I want to be able to offer so much more than a café as I feel it has the potential to be a network of three types of support – social, spiritual and practical.”

The facilities on offer at Eliot Gardens include a blue area with a spacious lounge area for people living with dementia to relax in, a kitchen facility so tea, coffee and cakes can be served and a sensory room for carers and family.

Hanna Whittle, a support assistant at Eliot Gardens, said: “We feel here at Eliot that by having the dementia café here it is benefitting our tenants who also have dementia by meeting new people and exploring new friendships.

This café is a God-send. It means we can go out and meet people.

Kathleen Smith

“Here it is a warm and friendly place for people to come and meet old friends as well as making new ones.”

The recent meeting was based around the theme of remembrance. Future activities may be themed around train journeys, well known songs and hymns from childhood, The aim is to provide a talking point for an interactive session as well as choosing a biblical thought for the day.

Kathleen and Ronnie Smith attended the Lifelines Café on Remembrance Day. Kathleen cares for her husband who is living with dementia.

She said: “This café is a God-send. It means we can go out and meet people.” Alison is hoping more people will attend the next café sessions. The next dates are Friday, November 25 and December 16, while a dementia-friendly community carol service will be held in St James` Church on December 12, at 2pm.