A MEMORY cafe in Rothwell that helps dozens of people affected by dementia has celebrated it’s seventh birthday.
When Peter Smith and his wife Liz launched the Tea Cosy Memory Cafe in October 2011 only around six turned up for the first meeting.
More than 150 people were at the cafe on Saturday to celebrate what has become a much-loved part of the community.
The Tea Cosy Memory Cafe, which meets on the first Saturday of each month at the Parish Centre on Church Road, Rothwell, offers support for people with dementia and a chance for families and carers to meet others in similar situations.
West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson was at the party along with the Lord Mayor of Leeds Coun Graham Latty and Lady Mayoress Coun Pat Latty.
Mr Smith, 71, has spearheaded a drive to educate people working in shops, pubs and cafes in Rothwell about dementia which has seen the town become the first Leeds community to become dementia friendly.
He wanted to find out more about dementia when his mother Phyllis was diagnosed with the illness aged 83 in 2002, two years before she died.
Mr Smith, who was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2016, became a full-time support worker for the Alzheimer’s Society and continues to do voluntary work six years after he retired.
He said: “It’s a very lonely being a carer and for the person with dementia it’s very lonely because they don’t know what’s going on around them.
“People enjoy being at the cafe and say there’s nowhere else like it. They say the support they receive is fantastic.”
Mark Burns-Williamson, said: “My police and crime plan is fundamentally focused on supporting those who are the most vulnerable within our communities.
“This service offered by the Tea Cosy Memory Cafe plays a crucial role in delivering that vision on a very local level and I’ve had the pleasure on a number of occasions of visiting the cafe, meeting Peter and all the great volunteers helping to make this initiative a real success story over a number of years.”