A Newcastle charity which supports people with dementia and their families will be putting the kettle on right through 2019 thanks to a four-figure grant awarded through its local Newcastle Building Society branch.

Silverline Memories aims to provide “places to go and things to do” for people living with dementia, and looks to facilitate around 20 social opportunities each month for its service users, including hosting a ‘dementia cafe’ every Monday afternoon in the community room of St Aidan’s Church in Brunton Park.

The cafe helps to tackle social isolation by providing opportunities for visitors to interact in whatever way works best for them, and supports around 30 local families every month.

After being nominated by Anne Hastings Sadler, a customer at Newcastle Building Society’s Gosforth High Street branch, Silverline Memories has now been awarded a £3,000 grant by the Society to cover the cafe’s running costs for 2019 and to help introduce new activities, including crafts, seated Zumba and ‘Smile Through Sport’ sessions.

The funding has been provided by the Newcastle Building Society Community Fund at the Community Foundation, which has been set up to provide grants to charities and community groups located in or around the communities served by the Society’s branch network, and put forward for support by its customers.

Headquartered at the Dene Centre in Brandling Village, Silverline Memories works primarily across Newcastle, but its services also extend as far as Alnwick, Hexham and Durham.

It already provides a wide range of activities for its service users, including tea dances, day trips, a lunch club, a carers support group and monthly ‘Silverline Sings’ events, which allow people with dementia to enjoy joining in with familiar songs.

The charity receives no statutory funding and its work is supported by a team of local volunteers.

Sandra Hastings, chief officer at Silverline Memories, says: “We firmly believe that life should not stop following a diagnosis of dementia, and that despite the obvious challenges, there is still much joy to be found and a full and active life to be lived.

“Our weekly cafes are already very popular, and provide people with dementia, their carers and their families with the chance to spend time in a supportive environment with others in the same situation.

“We put on various different events and activities as part of these sessions which have a visibly positive effect on those taking part, and this funding will now enable us to do even more over the next 12 months.

“The incredible support we’ve had from Newcastle Building Society will help us do a lot more so much more quickly than would otherwise have been possible, and will also save us a great deal of fundraising time and effort.”

Since its launch in 2016, Newcastle Building Society’s Community Fund has contributed over £321,000 in grants to projects across the Society’s North East and Cumbria heartland, and is so far estimated to have had a positive impact on more than 129,000 people.

Grant applications for a maximum of £3,000 can be made in any Society branch or via the newcastle.co.uk website by customers who wish to support their local communities.  There are larger grants of up to £50,000 also available to assist groups in improving or maintaining community buildings.

Newcastle Building Society’s also actively supports The Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Friends initiative and has trained over 1,190 ‘Dementia Friends’ across its workforce, including at least one staff member in each of its 28 branches, as well as several members of its main board of directors,

Lynn Richardson, manager at Newcastle Building Society’s Gosforth branch, adds: “There are over 35,000 people living with dementia in the North East, and it’s a condition that has a huge impact both on those directly affected and their loved ones.

“Having a positive impact on the communities in which we’re based is an essential part of the Society’s operations, and supporting the excellent work done by Silverline Memories is a great way for us to do this.”

The Newcastle Building Society Community Fund is run in association with the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland.