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‘Memory Cafés’ set to go live in Portsmouth

Portsmouth is set to step up the fight against dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Society Memory cafés are to be set up in the city as part of a major initiative to help people with living with or diagnosed with dementia.

Two cafés – one each for the north and south of the city – will go live next month.

The cafés will be an information and social hub for anyone affected by dementia, giving people the information and tools to live well with dementia while meeting in a relaxed environment.

There will also be education sessions for carers and a quarterly dementia network.

The move is a joint initiative by NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Portsmouth City Council.

The council and the CCG, which plans and commissions health services for the city, have awarded a contract with the Alzheimer’s Society to manage and run the memory cafe service.

Sessions in the south of the city will run every Tuesday from 1pm to 3pm at Southsea Community Centre in King Street. The first one will be held on 5 November.

Cafés in the north will be every Thursday from 1pm to 3pm at The Link, 48 Havant Road, Cosham. The first one will be on 7 November.

Dr Tim Wilkinson, the city GP who chairs the CCG’s Governing Board, said: “Increasing early diagnosis and improving services for people with dementia and their carers is a key priority both for the CCG and the council via the work of our Integrated Commissioning Unit.

“In Portsmouth we have a good record for identifying people with dementia-one of the ten top CCGs in England."

“While it can come as a shock, it's important that people get diagnosed early so that they can receive the right support and treatment; so that they can plan ahead.  We need to both further increase our levels of diagnoses and ensure that we have the right services in place to support those people who are newly diagnosed and their families.”

Cllr Leo Madden, the city council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “Anyone affected by dementia – individuals, family members or friends – are welcome to attend the memory cafes. They are free.

“There is far more awareness these days about dementia and the impact that it can have on both people with dementia and their loved ones if they don't receive the support they need. But we want to do more – and the cafés will also be starting up a dementia network to bring together everyone and anyone who is affected.

“The network will look at how we can improve dementia services and work towards making Portsmouth a more dementia friendly city.”

The first network meeting will be held at Southsea Community Centre on Tuesday 10 December from noon to 3pm. All are welcome.

For more information, email Portsmouth@alzheimers.org.uk or call Kelly Inwood, Support Services Manager for the Alzheimer’s Society, on 023 9289 2035.