A memory café in East Devon is celebrating a windfall from the county council to pay for extra transport so more people can attend its sessions.
The Colyton and Colyford Memory Café has been awarded a grant from Devon County Council’s Connecting You fund, for use providing door-to-door transport for those keen to attend the monthly event.
The East Devon memory café team said the windfall will enable people to attend who would otherwise stay away because of transport cost concerns.
Now demand has increased the memory café ‘desperately’ needs more local volunteer drivers – and with larger vehicles – so more people can benefit from attending the sessions.
Sue Whitell, project manager, said: “Our members frequently feed back to us that the café sessions are the highlight of their month.
“They say they have made new friends, picked up useful information and been entertained and stimulated by the activity programme we offer.
“The carers who accompany their loved ones tell us that they feel well supported at the café and enjoy seeing their loved ones looking relaxed and engaging with the activities.”
She added: “We know that some people don’t attend the memory café because they cannot transport themselves or because they feel they cannot afford to pay for a taxi service.”
The project manager said she was ‘delighted’ with the county council grant funding.
The Colyton and Colyford Memory Café runs two-hour sessions for clients and carers to come together to talk, take part in quizzes, dances, or listen to music and catch-up over a cuppa and cake.
The Memory Café is open on the 2nd Wednesday of the month in Colyton and the 4th Wednesday in Colyford.
Councillor Andrea Davis, Devon County Council portfolio holder for transport, said: “Lack of transport can be a serious barrier to participation. I am pleased to see Devon’s Connecting You funds being used by the memory café to help more people to reach their services and have the opportunity to socialise with others.”
Devon County Council’s Connecting You idea aims to tackle loneliness through transport for the over 55s and young adults aged between 16-24, with funding available to connect people to activities, with the hope of reducing loneliness.
The Colyton and Colyford Memory Cafe is currently supported by the local LINK community transport volunteer project – driving those who would otherwise be unable to get themselves to and from café sessions.
An increase in demand for the memory café services means more volunteer drivers are needed. If you can help, email email@example.com
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