Tea Rooms nominated for offering a ‘safe space’ to people living with dementia

Published November 1, 2017 at 16:03

Popular Haslingden eatery, the Dearden Tea Rooms has been nominated for a prestigious award for its work with people living with Dementia.

The tea rooms run by business partners Andrea Britland and Chris Hood, former head chef at the Fisherman’s Retreat, are up for an Inclusive Tourism Award as well as Lancashire Café/Tearoom Award in the Lancashire Tourism Awards.

Andrea who previously worked in social care, said their involvement with helping people who have dementia started when they realised that a regular customer was living with the disease.

They then began to make sure staff took into account the customer’s needs such as being extra patient when there was confusion over orders.

However, when a relative contacted the tea rooms and referred to it as the customer’s ‘safe space’ Andrea says she had a ‘lightbulb moment’ and began working with Dementia Friendly Rossendale to extend the help to other customers who might need it.

I thought it means so much to this person, why not do what we can to make it user friendly to other people living with dementia or other particular needs?

They held two sessions of staff training, covering topics such as how to tell someone has dementia and also changed flooring and signs to make it easier for people to move around the building.

The figures show there are an awful lot of people in East Lancashire living with dementia and around 1,000 in Rossendale. They and their carers can feel very isolated but are there many businesses that just by making small changes can do a lot to help them.

We had one gentleman in here who told us that he finds it difficult to go out because he can’t cope with the hustle and bustle but he said he would feel comfortable coming back to us. That really touched me. This awful condition can really strip someone of who they are so we need to do everything we can to help them.

The winners of the Lancashire Tourism Awards will  be announced at a glittering ceremony on November 9 at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom.

Also up for an award is the East Lancashire Railway which brings many day trippers to Rawtenstall.

It has been nominated for a large Visitor Attraction Award.

Councillor Andy MacNae, Portfolio holder for Regeneration, Tourism and Leisure, said:

I’m delighted that the tea rooms have been nominated. This is a fantastic initiative by them and one that shines a much needed spotlight on the issue of dementia which affects many many families in our borough. I do hope that other businesses will be inspired to follow their lead. I would also like to congratulate the East Lancashire Railway which is a brilliant tourist attraction and wish them both good luck at next week’s awards.

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