A Huddersfield church which celebrates its 60th birthday this weekend has opened a special café to offer a place to meet for those living with early stage dementia and those caring for loved ones with the condition thanks to the former Bishop of Wakefield’s HOPE money for community projects.
Over 150 churches in the historic diocese of Wakefield took up the former Bishop’s gift of £100 for a community initiative to mark his tenth anniversary as diocesan bishop and to celebrate the Christian Churches year of mission, HOPE 2014.
Called Almondbury Friends Café, it is staffed by willing volunteers from the church and the wider community and is open every third Thursday of the month from 2.30 until 4pm in St Michael and St Helens’ Church and will be open next Thursday 21 during Dementia Awareness week.
Curate, Lesley Greenwood-Haigh explained: “We take services twice a month in a residential home for people with dementia and through that have made excellent relationships with staff, residents and their friends and relatives. From this came the idea of a cafe in the community for people with early stage dementia.”
So the church teamed up with a former member of the parish Jo Sellers, an occupational therapist with a passion for working with people with dementia – so with Jo at the helm – and the £100 cash injection, the parish began holding a monthly cafe in St Michael & St Helens church in Almondbury to provide a space where carers could come with their loved ones and share stories, have a cuppa and a chat, play board games..
Jo has now been liaising with Kirklees Council and has successfully secured funding for equipment as well as support from the Community Engagement and Development Officer for Kirklees.
Said Lesley: “Our prayer is that once we have the equipment we can then focus on advertising in GP surgeries and will be able to offer prayer and a friendly ear or two.
“Having witnessed first hand how God meets with people whatever our perception is of their level of comprehension, I am excited about this venture and the opportunities it will bring to demonstrate God’s love in action,” added Lesley.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ST MICHAELS AND ST HELENS: This weekend we are celebrating 60 years of worship - with displays, bacon butties Saturday afternoon and on Sunday the Venerable Archdeacon of Halifax will preach.
DEMENTIA AWARENESS WEEK EVENTS: All Saints Parish Church Castleford will open its doors for a drop in event and refreshments on Wed May 20 2-4pm. they now have over 40 Dementia Friends from amongst the four congregations of the Castleford Team Parish
Almondbury Friends Cafe is open on the 3rd Thursday of the month 2.30 - 4pm. At St Michael & St Helens Church, Fleminghouse Lane, Almondbury.