December 5, 2023

The annual Christmas festivities went off with a bang as the 2023 Dementia Cafe was a massive success!

Let Christmas begin! The annual Christmas festivities went off with a bang as the 2023 Dementia Cafe was a massive success! 

The Manju-Shaul Hameed Foundation for Mental Health charity has dedicated one key area of focus to those living with Dementia. Within the UK, over 994,000 people have been diagnosed with the untreatable Dementia. However, as in the words of the honourable Colonel Ray Wilkson “Dementia doesn’t have the same level of exposure as other conditions. That’s why wonderful events such as the intergenerational Dementia Cafe is so integral to our communities and those deeply affected”.

The whole room was alight with Christmas joy! An incredible 60+ people gathered to kick off the festive season by cheerfully singing classic Christmas carols, sharing naughty treats (including some decadent desserts) and of course, participating in activities and games that truly cemented the love and joy felt on the day. Our MC and professional singer, Peter Edwards certainly kept the crowd alive with his personal renditions of the Christmas classics and jokes! And of course, attendees enjoyed the delights of the Ponsita School of Dance whose performances were described by one attendee as ‘breath-taking’.

The cafe also had the pleasure of welcoming vital community players such as the London Fire Brigade and Croydon Metropolitan Police Service. On behalf of the attendees and our charity, we are so grateful to have those in positions of power be able to utilise and leverage their privilege to bring more awareness to causes such as ours.

Aiding the Cafe to deliver its services were the five both lovely and efficient girls from John Ruskin College. Attendees were amazed and grateful for their level of attentiveness and kindness to help support those around them. Supervised by their brilliant teachers Valerie Romans and Kam Dehal, the girls assisted with the delivery of food and spent time with members of the café. Ms. Romans expressed her gratitude to participate and described the setup of the café as ‘lovely’. She said, “everyone is excited to be here” and rightly so as the room was buzzing with non-stop chatter and laughter.

Also in attendance was Pastor Dave Sunman of Woodmansterne Baptist Church with a few of his congregation. They were very much appreciative of being welcomed and found “it great to join in” and “see what you do to replicate in our church as well as to get to know some of your guests”.

Speaking with co-founder and Chair, Toni Letts OBE, who was ecstatic to ‘see so many people here today’, stated that the cafe was able to “achieve its goal of reminding us of the joy that surrounds them despite the effects of the condition”. She also mentioned how ‘it’s beautiful to see the cafe be a picture of Croydon as it “mirrors our diversity- a true community of communities”. Her words highlighted a key area of focus as she drew attention to how stigmatisation within ethnic minority groups such as Asian communities often struggle with offering support to those affected by Dementia due to stigmatisation.

Undoubtedly, the Dementia Cafe truly provided joy and relaxation for those not only directly affected but also their superhero support systems who are often forgotten about.

Zoe Larkai-Doherty

Add your Comment