People living with dementia in Sedgemoor helped thanks to the Hinkley Point C Community Fund

January 20, 2022

Sedgemoor Dementia Action Alliance (formerly Bridgwater Dementia Action Alliance) was awarded a grant for £5,000 from the Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund in October 2021 towards the costs of setting up a weekly Memory Café for people living with dementia, and those who care for them.

Dementia affects one in three people in the UK, and most carers are unpaid close relatives. With roots in the Netherlands, Dr. Bere Miesen, a Dutch psychiatrist, introduced the Memory Cafe concept in 1997. It is designed to be a place where people are surrounded by items such as crockery, cutlery and other commonly used items from the past which spark recognition and memories, leading to conversations and stories, and cutting through the confusion and effects of dementia. An old sewing machine for example may bring back memories of making or patching clothes for significant occasions in the past.

The recent grant allowed the group to pay for volunteer expenses, refreshments and games as well as helping with salary costs of a specialised reminiscence worker to support the sessions.

The HPC Community Fund Small Grants programme, managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), awards grants to community groups and organisations that work in places that are impacted by the Hinkley Point C development. The Small Grants Programme awards grants of up to £5,000, or up to £10,000 over three years for charities, voluntary groups and social enterprises that normally operate on less than £100,000 per year. It is an ongoing programme with decisions made every 6-8 weeks.

John Hardy, Co-ordinator at Sedgemoor Dementia Action Alliance, explains: “We support people with dementia, their carers and relatives from all across Sedgemoor. The weekly Memory Café sessions started in November 2021 in the Hub at the Angel Place Shopping Centre in Bridgwater, and we’ve seen first-hand how it’s had a really positive effect. This is especially important as the pandemic has been so disruptive for many of the people we support; it has exacerbated the difficulties experienced by many. Socialising and reminiscence activities have been shown to positively influence people living with dementia, and without this grant, the Memory Café simply would not have been able to go ahead.

“It’s also a great place to talk. A client of the Memory Café recently told us how she couldn’t afford to travel to her husband’s nursing home, as he had recently been moved outside of the local area. Along with SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association) and the Royal British Legion, we supported her, and awarded her a short-term grant, whilst longer-term funding was secured, which has allowed her to carry on visiting him.” 

Val Bishop, Programmes Director at SCF adds: “We’re so incredibly pleased that the HPC Community Fund grant has enabled Sedgemoor Dementia Action Alliance to increase the level of support on offer.

“Their project is part of the wider community support network that improves the lives of families impacted by dementia. During the pandemic, the Alliance helped families with things like deliveries and prescription pickups, and this project is an extension of this, allowing people to get back out into the community and socialise in a safe and easily accessible place.”

Andrew Cockcroft, Senior Community Relations Manager at Hinkley Point C said: “Our support for the Sedgemoor Dementia Action Alliance underlines the breadth of projects and organisations supported through the Hinkley Point C Community Fund. We continue to be extremely proud of the difference that it is making to the lives of people from across the local area.”

Funding is now available from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund for projects, schemes or initiatives that will mitigate residual and intangible impacts of the Hinkley Point C development and associated projects, improve community quality of life and wellbeing in addition to maximising the potential benefits of the construction.

To be considered for funding from the Small Grants programme at the next award meeting applications must be submitted by Friday 4 February. The next deadline following this will be Wednesday 30 March. To find out more about grant funding from the HPC Community Fund please visit: or call Peter Stolze on: 01749 344949.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a wider £20 million commitment of funding, provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements, for communities that are affected by the development of the new nuclear power station, to promote their social, economic and environmental wellbeing and enhance their quality of life.

Somerset Community Foundation (SCF) is a charity that helps passionate people in Somerset change the world on their doorstep by funding local charities and inspiring local giving and philanthropy. They aim to build stronger communities in Somerset where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. They provide rewarding and impactful ways for donors to give through them, to the causes and places they care about most. Together, they fund amazing organisations and the passionate people that change lives every day.

Since SCF were founded in 2002 they’ve awarded more than £16 million in funding, changing thousands of lives across Somerset.


Photo Caption: The Memory Café is set up at the Hub in the Angel Place Shopping Centre, Bridgwater

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