A NEW memory cafe which travels by rail was launched last week.

The Buckfastleigh Memory Café will operate on the South Devon Railway, offering a warm, welcoming and supportive space for people living with dementia and their carers.

This café is completely unique in that it takes place in a railway carriage pulled by a steam train as it travels through the glorious South Devon countryside.

It has all been made possible through National Lottery funding and with the support of the South Devon Railway, as well as a fantastic team of volunteers who served refreshments from the buffet trolley and made sure everyone was having wonderful time.

The train was dispatched in style by special guest, David Fitzgerald of BBC Radio Devon, as the train traveled from Buckfastleigh to Totnes and back. Everyone enjoyed conversation, community and of course a memorable train ride.

The memory café will meet monthly on the third Tuesday of every month from 3.15pm until 5pm, starting and finishing at the South Devon Railway, Buckfastleigh.

The service is free (donation only) and open to all local people living with memory problems and dementia and their companions. The scheme has been devised by Conversation Works, a community interest company set up by Kathrine Bailey in 2022. The organisation is dedicated to improving the lives of those living with dementia in the local area.

Katherine Bailey and David Fitzgerald.
Katherine Bailey andDavid Fitzgerald. (-)

As well as the new memory cafe, Conversation Works also runs cognitive stimulation therapy groups locally which provide a programme of sessions delivering social activity and stimulation, boosting confidence and increasing communication skills.

Research shows that it is one of the best treatments to help delay cognitive decline for people living with mild to moderate dementia.

Kathrine said: ‘We’re delighted that the National Lottery Community Fund has recognised how important memory cafes are as safe and supportive places where people affected by dementia can socialise and enjoy themselves.

It is really vital that places such as these exist within local communities and this one serving the people of Buckfastleigh, Ashburton and surrounding areas will hopefully go from strength to strength.’