Harleston community group to launch dementia friendly support group and cafe

The Swan Hotel's Swift Piano Bar will play host to the Harleston and District Dementia Friendly Comm

The Swan Hotel's Swift Piano Bar will play host to the Harleston and District Dementia Friendly Community cafe and support group. Photo: Angela Sharpe. - Credit: Archant � 2009

A new dementia cafe and support group is set to be launched in a market town to provide support for those with the condition.

The Harleston and District Dementia Friendly Community Group was launched in October to provide greater help for patients.

Drop-in dementia training sessions for residents have already been held and now about 60 businesses are taking part in workshops, which will teach techniques to help them ensure customers are treated with compassion and respect.

The sessions will also raise awareness of dementia.

The cafe and support group for carers, family members and those with dementia will be held every third Thursday of each month at the Swan Hotel, Harleston, starting in April.

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The group was started nearly two years ago by chairman Pat Simmonds, after she saw the impact the condition had on her mother-in-law.

Mrs Simmonds, who lives in Pulham Market but works in Harleston, said: 'It is a terrible thing.

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'I started reading about other places in the country that were dementia-friendly.

'Harleston has a large elderly population, so I am pleased to see it come to fruition.

'It is going to be a coffee and support group.

'What people were saying to us was that they wanted to do something but they couldn't leave the person that had dementia.

'So with this arrangement we can have the support group in one room and the cafe in another, so they are still together but there is the separation.'

The group will have memory boxes containing items such as pictures of old film stars and ration books for people to reminisce.

Mrs Simmonds said she also hopes to arrange for people to come in and do different activities, including hand massages.

The group will be held in the Swift Piano Bar at the hotel on Thursday, April 20, from 2pm to 4pm.

For more information about the group, to help with fund-raising or for general enquiries, contact Pat Simmonds on 01379 676557 or email patricia.simmonds@mail.com

Have you got a Harleston story? Contact reporter Sabrina Johnson on 01379 651153 or email sabrina.johnson@archant.co.uk

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