Academy's Dementia Cafe wins Intergenerational Activity Award

Oasis Academy Isle of Sheppey's Dementia Cafe has won the Dementia Friendly Kent Awards 2017 - Intergenerational Activity Award. 

Accompanying the students receiving the award, Community Coordinator Paul Murray explains about how the Academy's Dementia Cafe works. 

The Dementia Cafe 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. The students hold regular dementia cafes, eight this last academic year, visit local care homes to work with the residents, undergo dementia training (50 new trainees this year) and provide training for others in setting up dementia cafes. 

In September 2016, we started the year by hosting one of our cafés for a delegation from the Chinese Government and Peking University who visited to learn about the intergenerational work our students were doing on dementia. KCC recommended Oasis Academy as they considered the work to be an example of good practice. Professor Hual I Wang praising the school’s work said, “We’re glad to see pupils are so involved with so many activities and get quite motivated in educating the public and providing support for old adults in the community.” In October, we hosted the Kent Dementia Awards the guest speaker being Angela Rippon CBE. The students organised refreshments and entertainment for over two hundred guests.

The students have run six further cafes over the year. 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 entertainment includes singing and dancing, treatments from the Hair and Beauty Department students, PE activities and art/craft activities.

Bill Ronan, Community Liaison Officer, Communications and Engagements for Kent County Council said, “Can I convey my sincere thanks to all the young people who are exemplary in their engagement, participation and understanding of the issues facing attendees. It is always a joy for me to attend the dementia café…all students are enthusiastic and remind and reinforce for me the excellent values and ethos you instil in them as they support this sensitive issue. I am always impressed how understanding and professional your students are …….a valuable example of excellence in terms of this intergenerational project.”

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. Jeanette Spooner of Sittingbourne’s Willow Day Centre said, “I think it’s fantastic the students here have got such an awareness of dementia. They are courteous and 7 have an understanding of the difficulties they have and our folk love being with the younger people.”

The Dementia Cafe goes from strength to strength, and our committed students are now supporting other schools to set up their own dementia cafes.

Read more about the Dementia Friendly Kent Awards.