Memory Lane Café has received well-deserved recognition as a finalist in the prestigious 2023 BBC’s Make a Difference Awards, securing a spot among the top four nominees for the Community Group Award.
This specific award is awarded to a group who have genuinely changed the lives of others within the community, something which Memory Lane Café is more than familiar with.
The café was set up by husband and wife team Chris and June Harvey in Sowerby Bridge in February of 2016 as a way to get into more volunteering and giving back to their local community.
Through a Staying Well grant, Memory Lane Café was given their first 3 months’ rent and were well on their way to becoming community champions.
Memory Lane Café has always prided itself on being dementia friendly, giving those who suffer from conditions such as Alzheimer’s(as well as their carers) or those who face loneliness and isolation, a welcoming space to relax, socialise and enjoy a couple of hours out of the house.
Visitors to the café frequently enjoy live music and games, tea and coffee, a lending library of dementia-friendly activities, as well as fresh food prepared by the volunteers all for the small donation of £2.
In 2017, the Alzheimer’s Society reached out to Memory Lane Café and asked if they would like to take over their coffee club at the Maurice Jagger Centre in Halifax after hearing of the tremendous success of the Sowerby Bridge café.
Chris, June and their team of volunteers took the opportunity to further support the community and expand their reach.
Memory Lane Sowerby Bridge operates on the 2nd & 4th Saturdays of each month, with Memory Lane Halifax operating on the 1st & 3rd Mondays of each month.
Currently, Memory Lane Café has over 65 visitors to each session and over 25 dedicated volunteers, with their youngest being 12 years old.
The café is solely volunteer-led and has a passion for intergenerational connections, supporting many young people with their Duke of Edinburgh Award and even inviting students from Beech Hill Primary School in Halifax to attend the cafés to learn about dementia.
Memory Lane Café also organises day trips with their most recent being an outing to the East Lancashire Railway to take an exciting ride on a steam train.
Upon being nominated, June said:
“Being nominated is enough for us, anything else would be a bonus. We don’t do it for the accolades, we do it for the love of our members.”
Memory Lane Café is a community in itself, harnessing the power of friendly conversation to better the lives of those around us.
The BBC Make a Difference Award Ceremony will be held at The Dock Hall, Royal Armouries in Leeds on Saturday 30th of September 2023.
We wish Memory Lane Café and all other nominees the best of luck!