Church stories House of Good

Malvern Dementia Centre

Revd Philip Johnson, of The Church of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, is calling for help setting up a support centre within the church. He explains why he is so passionate for this to happen.

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Dementia affects everyone – whole families, not just the person with the diagnosis. And two lockdowns have just made everyday living for people with dementia even harder. Some of those who had been managing at home, with family carers, found it all too much. Families have had to face the apparently inevitable – transfer to full time care in a care home. Splitting husbands and wives, grandchildren from granny or grandpa, and especially difficult given the restrictions necessary in the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the parish of Malvern Link with Cowleigh we’re passionate that people with dementia and their families should get the support they need to stay living at home, in their own community, for as long as possible. So we’re working on setting up a Dementia Meeting Centre in one of our three churches, St Matthias at the Link. Our church will be 175 years old in 2021 and it’s seen its share of changes, including the creation of the Link Room, at the west end in the 1980s. It’s this room that we’re developing for the Dementia Meeting Centre.

Our centre will offer a programme of activities and events, initially for two days a week to engage, encourage and support people with dementia. Meanwhile we’ll be offering support to family carers, too. Dementia Meeting Centres have a proven track record since they were developed in the 1990s in the Netherlands.

Members of Dementia Meeting Centres learn how to make adjustments to their changing circumstances, they make new friends, re-engage with their local community and become physically fitter. Family carers receive reliable information, feel less overburdened and suffer fewer psychosomatic complaints. Everyone copes better and nursing home admission is delayed or prevented.

We’re fundraising to make the necessary changes to the St Matthias Link Room to make it suitable for people with dementia – changing to underfloor heating, replacing the current noisy fan heaters, which would be distressing to members. We need to buy new, cleanable chairs and tables and renovate the loos.

Our partner, Mark Hamer from Care Instead, has all the expertise and fully-trained staff. All we need is the funds to make the alterations and we should be up and running in early 2021. Find our crowd funding page at