ALTON Community Centre has launched a music and memories café.

An exciting new community initiative spearheaded by care provider Home Instead in conjunction with Dementia-friendly Alton, the memory café has been months in the pipeline, the aim being to provide a warm and friendly environment for more senior citizens, especially those living with dementia, to come together with family members and carers for an interactive experience with a musical twist.

It was an objective truly met through plenty of activities for everyone to get involved in, from reading old scrapbooks illustrating the decades of the last century, painting and knitting to eating good cake and drinking tea!

All this coupled with the lively and refreshing company of a small party of schoolchildren from St Lawrence Primary School who enjoyed sharing the memories and engaging with the stories and experiences of the guests.

The children, and anyone who wished to, soon engaged with activities such as painting, word searches, and a fun quiz. All of this, together with live music from the piano throughout, made for a unique and relaxing atmosphere. Spontaneous sing-song erupted as music from old times and well-loved melodies sparked a united chorus around the piano.

Home Instead director Mike Colvin said: “Today has surpassed all our wildest expectations. The launch of the Music and Memories Café has been such a great success and has been supported by so many wonderful people and organisations.

“Watching both the younger and senior members of the community sharing their time in a fun-filled and relaxing café environment was a sheer delight and the schoolchildren all said excitedly that they wished to attend the next cafe.”

He added: “We would just like to thank everyone who has been instrumental in helping to organise this event and for their encouragement and assistance in turning a dream into a reality. Today’s cafe has been so successful that we are moving into a larger room for the next café in March to accommodate everyone and allow space for newcomers.”

Speaking on behalf of Dementia-friendly Alton, chairman Karen Murrell said: “It is so exciting to have our very own cafe in Alton providing social support for people with dementia and their carers. The opportunity to collaborate with Home Instead, St Lawrence School and Alton Community Centre in this way has been very rewarding and productive.

“This first event was a huge success for all those involved, as the positive feedback from those attending surpassed all our expectations.”

She continued: “Following the morning café, an afternoon information and training session for both professional and informal carers to attend provided yet another innovative and joined-up dementia-friendly opportunity for Alton and the surrounding area.”