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The Meeting Point Café

The Meeting Point Café is a project of the Leeds North & East Methodist Circuit. It offers its customers a variety of hot and cold meals, snacks and drinks at very reasonable prices from 7am – 1pm, Monday – Friday, but it isn’t just a café! Following the closure of Harehills Lane Methodist Church ‘Meeting Point’ has been offering a contribution to the Christian presence in Harehills. True to its name it is a meeting point where all sorts of people come to eat and drink, talk and be listened to. Our manageress, Pauline, and her committed volunteers have a reputation for offering acceptance, compassion and a listening ear to everyone who visits the café (regulars and newcomers alike) and Deacon Sheila offers them the opportunity of talking with a Christian Minister. We are currently seeking to extend our services to the local people by using our premises to host different activities that will benefit their communities.

20 August 2015
Yorkshire and Humber
Voluntary Sector
Local Alliances:
Leeds Dementia Action Alliance

1. Action Plan

1. The National Dementia Declaration lists seven outcomes that the DAA are seeking to achieve for people with dementia and their carers. How would you describe your organisation’s role in delivering better outcomes for people with dementia and their carers?

We already have the occasional person with dementia coming in to The Meeting Point Café as a customer and we try to provide a relaxed atmosphere where both the sufferer and their family member/carer will feel welcome, accepted and unrushed. Some of our staff and volunteers have personal experience of life with a person with dementia in their family or close friendships and already understand some of the challenges this condition can bring.

At The Meeting Point Café we would like to help support people with dementia (and their carers) by building on our current level of understanding and care through ensuring that all our café staff and volunteers receive some education and training about dementia. We would also like to provide our current customers (and members of the local community) opportunity to receive this teaching about dementia - either with the café staff and volunteers or at a different session to be held in the café.

It would probably be useful if, after this initial training, we examined the environment in the café to see if there are any things that we could easily do to make our premises more ‘dementia friendly’.
Once we’ve become a ‘dementia friendly’ café we’d like to liaise with The Alzheimer’s Society and work with them to set up a monthly Dementia Café - specifically for supporting people with dementia and their carers - which would be hosted in our café one afternoon a month.

2. What are the challenges to delivering these outcomes from the perspective of your organisation?

The main challenges that we are likely to face in delivering these outcomes are probably to do with informing people of the opportunities available to them and then encouraging them to take advantage of those opportunities.

It is possible that not all of the café staff and volunteers will feel that they need to learn about dementia and its impact on the people close to sufferers – because they themselves already have personal experience of the condition.

It is also very possible that not all of the staff and volunteers will be available to attend the initial session for educating them about dementia.

Similarly, it is possible that many of our customers will not feel that they need to learn about the impact that dementia can have on individuals and their families/friends/carers so we might not have many individuals wanting to attend the initial session teaching about this.

Once we have made plans to start a monthly Dementia Café (with support from The Alzheimer’s Society) our main challenge is likely to be identifying individuals to invite to come along to it (i.e. individuals who have dementia or are living with/caring for people with dementia).

Member website

The Meeting Point Café

2. Actions

  • Improve our understanding of dementia.

    We have arranged for the Alzheimer’s Society to deliver a Dementia Friends Information Session at the Meeting Point Café in September. All the café’s staff and volunteers have been asked to attend so that we will hopefully all learn more about dementia and how we might be better able to serve any customers who are affected by this condition.
    This training session will also be available for customers and members of the general public to attend – so we will hopefully raise awareness of dementia in our local area and help it’s residents to gain a greater understanding of the condition and how we can all be sensitive and helpful to people whose lives are affected by it.
    If this session is well received by local people we will possibly arrange to host further Dementia Friends sessions in The Meeting Point Café in the future.

  • Make our premises more dementia-friendly

    Following our Dementia Friends Information Session we will carefully look at the public areas in our café premises to see if there are any obvious changes that we could make to improve accessibility for people with dementia. (We will use a Dementia Friendly Physical environments checklist to help us determine what might be helpful to individuals with dementia).

  • Start a Dementia Café one afternoon a month

    We will work with the Alzheimer’s Society to plan, advertise and start a monthly Dementia Café.   The idea is for our café premises to be used one afternoon a month to provide a safe, supportive and enjoyable group which will be of benefit to dementia sufferers and their families/carers.   Exactly what format this will take is unclear as yet.  We will hopefully be able to advertise our Dementia Café via the nearby doctors surgery and public library.