The Dementia Café is an intergenerational project hosted and run by Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey students alongside neighbouring care homes, local churches, NHS, Alzheimer’s society, Kent County Council, Swale Borough Council and individuals throughout the county.
It all started in April 2014 when a group of students from Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey wanted to do some work with people who were living with dementia. A meeting was arranged between the school and Barton Court Nursing Home to discuss how they could work together, and a strong partnership quickly emerged.
Since then, students have been to both local and national events, educating others about dementia, have set up the Dementia Café and have engaged with the local community on a significant level.
What is the Dementia Café?
Students volunteer their time to put on themed café events for residents of local care homes, and members of Age UK from both Sheppey and Sittingbourne. Activities include singing, performances, and even pampering sessions from beautician students. The young people also conduct regular fundraising for local dementia charities.
The Dementia Café involves holding one café every term, which brings in over thirty guests each time. Each café is based on a theme including a Christingle and an Easter cafe. The students raise funds that enable us to buy gifts for our guests at these cafes as well as providing an afternoon of refreshments and entertainment.
The school have since developed fascinating links with Peking University Institute of Mental Health and have since had a visit from 12 delegates to see the work the school are doing around dementia. The students have won lots of awards for their work but they did not start this work with awards in mind. To have the Chinese delegation visiting the school to see how they do things is surely an added endorsement for all the hard work done by everybody at the academy.
Alongside cafes, the students also visit the residents of local care homes and have undertaken an art project with one of these homes. This culminated in the creation of a dementia friendly garden at the home. Students attended the official opening of the garden socialising with other guests and residents. This project is to be further developed in the next academic year.
The students at Sheppey were recognised in a special piece about their work by TES, entitled "How students at one school in Kent set up a 'Dementia Cafe' to offer friendship and entertainment to care home residents". Patrons of the cafe were interviewed alongside the students in a heartwarming article about the difference the scheme is making to everyone's lives.
You can find the article here.
Students and staff at local secondary school in Kent become Youth Organisation winners of the Year 2018, under 25’s category at the Dementia Friendly Awards.
Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey has been recognised for the amazing work they do with their Dementia Café, and the work they do within their local community, they were also runners up for Outstanding Contribution 2018 out of 300 entries.
Read more about this here.
In 2017 Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey's Dementia Cafe won the Dementia Friendly Kent Awards - Intergenerational Activity Award.
You can read more about this here.
Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey’s Dementia Café was one of the three finalists at the prestigious Dementia Friendly Awards 2017 in the Dementia Friendly Organisation of the Year, Small and Medium category, along with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and the Bracknell Film Society. TV personality Angela Rippon hosted the awards, and presenters included the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, and actions Lesley Sharp and Richard McCourt.
“This award recognises business and/or organisations that have gone the extra mile to ensure that people with dementia such as their customers and colleagues feel understood, valued and able to contribute to their community.”
The first prize went to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, with Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey coming runners-up. Read more here.
Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey’s work to support local people who have dementia has received further national recognition after they shared their knowledge and expertise with fellow youth and education providers on how to ‘Create a Dementia Friendly Generation’ at a special event in London.
Read more about this here.