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Fire station ‘memory cafe’ officially launched

A fire station based ‘memory cafe’ which aims to support the growing numbers of people in South Yorkshire who live with dementia has been officially launched.

Adwick fire station at Quarry Lane, Woodlands hosts the monthly memory cafe as part of a new partnership between South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue and the Alzheimer’s Society.

The events, held once each month on a Thursday afternoon, provide an opportunity for people living with dementia and their carers to meet in a safe, managed environment and to take part in activities to promote mental and physical wellbeing, like games and health walks.

An Alzheimers Society Dementia Support Worker also attends each meeting to give information and support to carers.

Leaders including South Yorkshire Fire Authority Vice Chair Cllr Alan Atkin, Assistant Chief Fire Officer Martin Blunden and Integrated Dementia Lead for Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group Wayne Goddard were amongst those who attended the launch, alongside carers and their loved ones.

Officers believe the project will benefit the fire service by providing a vital link with one of its key target groups in terms of vulnerability to fire.

They think the partnership also highlights the growing role the fire service can play in promoting health and wellbeing in the communities it serves.

Area Manager Steve Helps, said: “In the last decade, the fire service has helped to make South Yorkshire safer than is has been at any time in its history in terms of house fires and fire related deaths and injuries.

“But we believe we can play a much wider role in terms of tackling some of the big health challenges our country faces in the future. This project is the perfect illustration of that aspiration, where fire service resources are helping to improve the lives of one of the most vulnerable groups in society.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is also a member of the Yorkshire & Humber Dementia Alliance, which is committed to tackling the growing issue of dementia within our communities.

Hundreds of its staff have also signed up to become Dementia Friends- a Government backed initiative which teaches people a little bit more about what it’s like to live with dementia, and then turns that understanding into action.

Paul Harrison, Alzheimer’s Society Operations Manager for South Yorkshire ,said: “We are delighted to enter into this partnership with the fire service and are grateful to them for hosting the Memory Café in their premises – it is certainly one of our more unusual locations.

“Alzheimer’s Society research has shown that people living with dementia thrive better if they can continue to live in their own homes for as long as possible, but they can be very vulnerable to risks in the home including fire. Working with the South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue is a vital part of creating supportive dementia friendly communities and improving both safety and wellbeing of people living with dementia and their carers in the area.”

Integrated Dementia Lead for Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group Wayne Goddard, said: “This is a great initiative on so many levels; firstly as 50% of deaths caused by fire involve older people and dementia is mainly concerned with older people, this dementia café not only brings people, partners and communities together for support but actually helps Doncaster with its prevention agenda.

“People with dementia and their carers tell me the café is great and they love coming and it almost feels ‘more normal’ so the arrangement also helps with stigma which can often be a barrier for people living normal lives. I have nothing but praise for the partnership and hopefully we can expand this model to Doncaster’s other stations.”

South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue has community rooms available at many of its fire stations across the county which are available to use, free of charge, to a variety of charities and community organisations.

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This content was last updated on December 02nd, 2015