Memory Café: How to Engage with Memory Loss and Build Community
The Vicar of a North London Church has published a new book sharing his experiences of running a Memory Café in his parish in the hope of encouraging other churches to do the same.
The Revd Steve Morris, Vicar of St Cuthbert’s Church in Wembley, established a memory café in May 2015 as a way to help tackle loneliness and isolation in his parish, and enable the church to play a central role in the heart of community life in Brent.
The memory café concept brings together isolated people from different backgrounds and faiths in a safe environment, allowing them to forge connections, share companionship, and keep mentally active and physically fit through chair aerobics and healthy eating projects. Such has been the success of the initiative that St Cuthbert’s have even assembled a memory café choir, which recently performed with the choir of the Metropolitan Police Service.
The memory café at St Cuthbert’s has proven so popular amongst local residents, regularly hosting more than 80 users every week, that Revd Steve has published a booklet called Memory Café: How to Engage with Memory Loss and Build Community – which offers step by step guidance to clergy and others who may wish to start their own memory cafes.
Some of the thoughts which Steve shares in his book touch upon not only his own drive and commitment as a Christian to tackling isolation in the community, but also how potentially easy it can be to set up a memory café and that, with only a few volunteers and hot drinks, a memory café can have a hugely positive impact amongst those who draw upon its services.
Steve Morris said:
“St Cuthbert’s memory café has changed the whole way I look at being a priest and understand Christian ministry. Loneliness is the great hidden plague and we have to do something about it – now, straightaway. A memory café is so simple to do and so beautiful to run that every church in the land should have one.”
The Rt Revd Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden, said:
“The work of St Cuthbert’s to engage with those who are isolated and forgotten in society is an important example of the vital role which churches can play in the community, and should stand as a model for other churches looking to establish their own memory café.”
Memory Café: How to Engage with Memory Loss and Build Community is published by Grove Books Ltd and is available via their website. In addition to the booklet, the team at St Cuthbert’s will also be making available special toolkits to assist anyone trying to establish a memory cafe. If you are interested in acquiring one please contact St Cuthbert’s on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling on 020 8904 8599.