SEDGEMOOR Dementia Action Alliance has set up a weekly memory café in Bridgwater after receiving a £5,000 grant from the Hinkley Point C Community Fund. 

The grant was made in October 2021 and contributed to the cost of creating the facility for people living with dementia and those who care for them.

The grant allowed the group to pay for volunteer expenses, refreshments and games, and helped cover the salary costs of a reminiscence worker to support the sessions.

John Hardy, coordinator of Sedgemoor Dementia Action Alliance (formerly Bridgwater Dementia Action Alliance), said: "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."

Dementia affects one in three people in the UK, and most carers are unpaid close relatives. 

The concept of the memory café was created by Dr Bere Miesen, a Dutch psychiatrist, in 1997.

Memory cafés surround people with commonly used items from the past which help spark recognition and memories, leading to conversations and stories.

"It’s also a great place to talk," said John.

"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."

The Hinkley Point C (HPC) Community Fund Small Grants programme awards grants to community groups and organisations that work in places impacted by the HPC development.

The HPC Community Fund Small Grants programme is managed by Somerset Community Foundation (SCF), which has awarded more than £16 million in funding since it was founded in 2002.

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 funding decisions made every six to eight weeks.

The HPC Community Fund is part of a £20 million commitment of funding provided by EDF through Section 106 agreements to communities affected by the development of the new nuclear power station.

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."

For more available about receiving funding from the HPC Community Fund, visit or call Peter Stolze on 01749 344949.

To be considered for funding at the next HPC Community Fund Small Grants meeting, applications must be submitted by Friday, February 4. 

The following applications deadline will be Wednesday, March 30.