By Denis Bacon
Some four years ago the Rotary Club of the Vale of Belvoir volunteered to create a Memory or Sensory Garden for the Church Farm Nursing Home in Cotgrave, who specialise in dementia care.
The garden was designed by a member of the club and his wife who are expert gardeners and members of the club then did all the hard work of clearing the site and provided planting common in the post war era intended to remind people suffering from memory loss of the sights and smells of their youth.
The garden was such a success that the club considered what more it could do to help people suffering from memory impairment.
The answer was to create a Memory Cafe that meets at All Saint’s Church Cotgrave. Having just celebrated its third birthday the Café has grown to over 40 members. All meetings include audio visual material taken from old newsreels and YouTube intended to remind people of the major things that have happened in their lifetime with related quizzes, anagram games and sing-songs to encourage everyone to get involved in some way. During the meeting, refreshments prepared by members of the club and their wives, are provided free of charge to the participants.
The Café meets once a month with a different theme for each meeting, including topics such as springtime, wash day, musicals and films. The Christmas meeting held in November is always a special event with carols, party games and present opening. The theme of the January meeting was ‘pantomime’ which included videos of pantomime acts performing at the finest theatres across the land. It also included an appearance of a real Dame straight from a recent pantomime organised by a local amateur theatrical group.
Many of the Memory Café presentations are subsequently repeated at the Dove Cottage Hospice, an independent organisation offering high quality palliative day care to those living in our Vale of Belvoir area.
The pictures included show a packed January meeting and one of our own cross-dressing members acting as the pantomime Dame. At least I think it was an act!