New community cafe at Norwich’s Julian Hospital

Hammerton Court. Photo: NSFT

Hammerton Court. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

A new community cafe featuring reminiscence volunteers is being supported by Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust (NSFT).

The initiative is led by Age UK Norwich and the cafe will open 11am to 1pm on the third Wednesday of every month, beginning on October 17, at Hammerton Court, a unit at NSFT's Julian Hospital.

Hammerton Court Community Cafe is open to all and anyone can just pop along but it is particularly suitable for people with a diagnosis of dementia or a functional mental illness, such as depression, schizophrenia, mood disorders or anxiety, and their carers.

Charlotte Kippin, community and neighbourhood support Mmanager at Age UK Norwich, an independent charity, said she hopes it will also be used by people who are lonely, from any age group – not just older people.

'The Hammerton Court Community Cafe will be similar to the monthly initiative that we already run at the Marks and Spencer, Jarrolds and John Lewis stores in the city,' she said.

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'They include two reminiscence volunteers, whose day jobs involve working at M&S and who have a real interest in dementia.

'They come along with a large suitcase containing items like old clothes from the 50s, old food packaging and photographs of Norwich in bygone days.

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'People with dementia can have good emotional memories and seeing these items makes them think and remember, bringing back good feelings and making them happy.'

Ms Kippin said the idea for a community café at Hammerton Court came from Nicky Gordon, deputy service manager for older people's inpatient services at the Julian Hospital.

Mrs Gordon said: 'Mental illness and dementia in later life can often lead people feeling lonely and isolated within the community.

'NSFT are keen to support the link with Age UK Norwich in the launch of the Hammerton Court Community Cafe to offer a safe place for people to come along.'

Drinks, freshly-made sandwiches and paninis, jacket potatoes and light bites will be available for sale.

The plan is for the community café to develop so that advice can be provided to people attending who will also have a chance to take part in activities such as boccia and curling, which people with limited mobility can join in.

The cafe will also provide an opportunity for carers to take a break in a relaxing environment.

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