Cafés create safe spaces for Covid-19 recovery

2 September 2022

Written by: Lambeth Council

Focus on Norwood - Health and Wellbeing - Voluntary and community sector

Rose Café provides free dementia-friendly sessions to support the community in West Norwood as it recovers from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Cafés create safe spaces for Covid-19 recovery

Lambeth Council invited care providers Home Instead to run West Norwood’s Rose Café, part of supporting communities to recover from the impact of Covid-19. This dementia-friendly café builds on the success of the Sunflower Café in Streatham.

Mission to minimise isolation

“We’re based in the Old Library,” says café co-ordinator Kemi Browne, “a great central location for our mission to minimise isolation. People visit libraries to find things, to learn, for ways to connect.

Part of a network

“We’ve joined an existing network: the Norwood Pensioners’ Hub is here, and a volunteer centre. West Norwood Picture House runs dementia-friendly events like film screenings. The ‘Knit Wits’ knitting group from the Picture House facilitate sessions for us – their knitters attend our sessions, and Rose Café attendees’ love for knitting takes them to the Knit Wits group. People from our exercise group go over the road to their sessions and invite people back.”

Outreach for older people

rose cafe flyer

Flyer for dementia-friendly space at the Old Library, West Norwood

“People get referred to us by the Lambeth Alzheimer’s Society and other outreach projects for older people. Some come from Sing4All, the singing for Dementia group.

 Weekly, monthly and single sessions

“Sessions are like the Sunflower Café’s: weekly art and music therapy stimulate the brain; weekly chair-based exercise – and for people who dislike the word ‘exercise’, songs you can’t stop moving and swaying to; monthly knitting and bingo sessions. We invite advisers in to give talks – Centre 70 talking about financial support in the cost of living crisis and speakers on wellbeing topics like managing diet for diabetes.

Third space

“After Covid, people want to get out, they want to fill their days, they don’t want to be isolated. Our future includes more places for people – we’re running a third safe space – the Butterfly Café – in partnership with Kings College Hospital. The Butterfly Café is a free, Dementia Friendly, informal hub to bring joy, creativity and hope for people living with Dementia and their careers. It also provides a carers’ support hub. We return in October 2022, with two sessions a month. Venue, dates, and times will be confirmed soon.

Open to offers

“We’ve created a community here, with people coming for one session then back for more. We are looking for funding – get in touch if you’ve got something to offer.”

Find the cafés

  • Sunflower Café SW16 1PN  from 7 September 2022
  • Rose Café SE27 0HY
  • Butterfly Café – tbc at King’s College Hospital

For more details of Home Instead in Lambeth, Wandsworth and Dulwich see their web pages.