Atherton charity’s tearoom serving up treats for people with dementia

Karen Aldred, Ann Smith, Anthony Hughes, Greg Hughes and Hilary Aldred, volunteers at Memories
Karen Aldred, Ann Smith, Anthony Hughes, Greg Hughes and Hilary Aldred, volunteers at Memories

A new tearoom decorated with old photographs and bunting has opened its doors to support people with dementia.

Charity Good Deeds Trust opened a dementia cafe at Atherton Library three years ago, providing somewhere for people to go once a month.

Other news: Chef who had been drinking assaulted McDonald's customer

It proved to be such a success, with up to 35 people attending each time, that organisers felt more was needed.

They have now opened Memories tearoom at the newly refurbished Atherton Town Hall.

Treasurer Karen Aldred, a former councillor for Atherton, said: “Sometimes we thought once a month wasn’t enough and they felt isolated for the rest of the month, especially if they were alone.

“When the project came for the library to move into the town hall, they asked for any groups interested in taking space. We went through the process and expressed an interest in running a tearoom alongside the library.”

The tearoom opened its doors on Monday and Mrs Aldred said the response so far had been “fantastic”.

She said: “Our vision is it’s open six days a week and people who are feeling a bit down can pop in there. People will understand the condition. It’s a very disability-friendly tearoom.”

Mrs Aldred said it is an “olde worlde” tearoom, with old photographs for people to reminisce.

It has been carefully designed, with circular tables suitable for people using wheelchairs and floors that are not black or shiny because people with dementia can think it is a hole or wet.

It is hoped the tearoom will provide something different for Atherton and a “safe environment” for people who may not feel able to go to other cafes for whatever reason.

For example, it is fully accessible for people using wheelchairs and does not matter if someone is shouting because it is part of the condition.

Mrs Aldred said: “We are trying to create a nice environment for everyone so they can feel they are not rushed and they can sit and chat.”

Dementia coffee mornings and a luncheon club will continue to run in another part of the building.

A festive day will be held from noon on Saturday, December 1 to mark the opening of Memories and the town hall.

There will be a mini festive market, a vintage bus and a fire engine. Tyldesley Brass Band will perform at the memory tree light switch-on at 5pm, accompanied by choirs, and refreshments will be served.