Costessey pub hosting new support group for dementia carers

A new dementia cafe is being started at the Copper Beech pub for carers of people with dementia.
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A new dementia cafe is being started at the Copper Beech pub for carers of people with dementia. Lynn Arnold, Development worker for adault social services and Copper Beech pub general manager Claire Harris. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

A pub in the heart of a Norwich suburb will be transformed as a sanctuary of support for carers of people living with dementia.

The Copper Beech on Alex Moorhouse Way in Costessey is launching a free weekly drop-in session for people looking after relatives or friends with dementia, as well former carers.

The Care, Share and Connect group starts on Tuesday, June 27, between 3-4pm and was the idea of Lynn Arnold, from Norfolk County Council's adult social services prevention team.

It was fully supported by general manager of The Copper Beech, Claire Harris, who said there had been an increase in customers with dementia as well as their carers visiting the pub since she took over six years ago.

Miss Harris said: 'It is to try and encourage carers and family members to meet up and chat about dementia. It is going to be very informal. Hopefully the group members will connect and keep new relationships going with people in the same situation.'


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Anyone can attend and the ultimate aim is for carers to be in charge of the group and decide on activities.

It is different to other dementia cafes because it will not be affiliated to any statutory groups or health organisations.

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Miss Harris added: 'The Copper Beech is a nice big venue and is a safe environment.'

She wanted to 'give back' to people in Costessey and wanted the pub to be known as a community hub.

As well as opening up the pub to the carers' support group, about 12 of her 40 staff were trained in dementia awareness.

More of her staff will be trained up in the future.

It is part of a drive to make Costessey, its residents and businesses dementia friendly.

Ms Arnold, a development worker, said: 'It is about giving dementia carers the opportunity to share experiences.

'We are trying to do something different. I'm really pleased the pub has taken this on board. It shows it is a pub with a heart and wants to be part of a community.'

There are around 100 support groups in Norfolk for people living with dementia and their carers.

They are in church halls, day care centres, village halls, community centres and even garden centres.

For advice call the Age UK Norfolk Advice Line on 0300 5001217 or the Alzheimer's Society on 0300 2221122.

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