Dementia cafe at the ‘cop shop’ sees police and campaigners combine

West Yorkshire Police's Leeds District Headquarters on Elland Road, Leeds. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
West Yorkshire Police's Leeds District Headquarters on Elland Road, Leeds. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Dementia campaigners are teaming up with West Yorkshire Police (WYP) to launch a monthly Cop Shop Memory Cafe to help people with the condition this week.

Peter Smith, who has been working with Leeds City Council to make Leeds ‘dementia friendly’, has helped to organise the new dementia cafe to be run by South Leeds Live at Home Scheme at Elland Road Police Station, in Beeston.

It is hoped that the unusual location of the cafe, which opens tomorrow, will prove stimulating for people with the condition, which affects memory and understanding.

Mr Smith, who cared for his late mother when she struggled with dementia, first started working with WYP two years ago and has given awareness talks and training to dozens of officers.

He said: “It’s a great venue. There are all sorts of conversations that will come because you’ve got Elland Road Stadium, the old greyhound stadium and the police station as well – it will stimulate all sorts of memories.”

The Cop Shop Memory Cafe will take place in Elland Road Police Station’s community room on the last Wednesday of every month from 1pm to 3pm. It will be open to both people with dementia and their carers.

WYP’s dementia friendly approach has seen officers trained in how to approach people with dementia, certain officers designated as specialist dementia champions and a new Herbert Protocol rolled out in which important information about vulnerable people is shared with police in case they go missing.

Susan Brown, assistant manager at South Leeds Live at Home Scheme which already runs a memory cafe in Beeston, said: “It’s a nice unusual venue people will find appealing. It’s on bus routes and next to the park and ride so hopefully it will be accessible to more people.”

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