A café which aims to combat loneliness for people impacted by dementia has been awarded a £1,000 grant.

The Forget Me Not Dementia Café runs from 10am to midday every Wednesday out of Fairycroft House, Saffron Walden, and welcomes people with dementia and their carers.

Café founder Jennifer Jarvis and her team of volunteers applied for a grant from the Saffron Community Fund earlier this year, and were awarded £1,000 to support the café's running costs.

Jennifer said: “I helped set up the Forget Me Not Dementia Café over four years ago with the Uttlesford Volunteer Bureau.  

"We recently became a separate entity which means my team of volunteers are I are now solely responsible for funding the café.   

Saffron Walden Reporter: Barbara, Claire and Jennifer at Saffron Walden's Forget Me Not Dementia CaféBarbara, Claire and Jennifer at Saffron Walden's Forget Me Not Dementia Café (Image: Saffron Building Society)

“The Saffron Community Fund is the first corporate grant we have applied for so to be successful is such wonderful news.  

"When I first started the café we had four regulars and this has now grown to a core group of nearly 40 people."

The café provides a place for people with dementia to visit, where they are greeted by a friendly and familiar face.

Elaine Tointon, a regular visitor to the café, said: "I used to come along to the café with my good friend Margaret who has dementia, but recently her condition started to deteriorate so she’s now in a care home.  

"In the meantime, I’ve started to develop dementia myself, however, I can still get about on my own.


"I live alone so having a place like the Forget Me Not Café to come to and meet my friends is so important as life can be lonely otherwise.

"The team here are lovely people and they work so hard for us all. 

"The café is a godsend for me. I have a place that I look forward to coming to every week to see my friends.  

"The companions join in as well, which is so nice. It's one big happy family."

The café also provides a safe space for carers and spouses of people with dementia to talk about the challenges they are facing, with some bringing along spouses who have entered care homes.

Saffron Walden Reporter: Service user Hugh MitchellService user Hugh Mitchell (Image: Saffron Building Society)

Regular visitor Hugh Mitchell said: "I have been coming to the Forget Me Not Café for nearly 18 months now.

"I often see people and they ask how my wife is but rarely do people want to hear the detailed answer. 

"But everyone at Forget Me Not Café understands, and I can chat away until my heart is content. 

“I need to talk to people and occupy my mind and the café allows me to do that." 

The Saffron Community Fund provides grants to charities, community groups and volunteer organisations in the East of England.

Claire Hunnable, community business partner at Saffron Building Society, said: "Forget Me Not Dementia Café is a real gem in Saffron Walden’s community crown.

"We hope that the £1,000 Saffron Community Fund grant helps the café to keep its doors open so it can continue to offer this vital service to our local community."