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Sefton Hall opens Forget-me-not café in former Covid swabbing room

Sefton Hall in Dawlish, Devon, opened the Forget-me-not café earlier this year, to connect residents and the community. The opening ribbon was cut by Southern Healthcare managing director, Geoffrey Cox and Dawlish Mayor Rosie Dawson.

Manager Gabriela Ogreanu decided to revamp the home’s former Covid swabbing area, which is located to the front of the main home. Her inspiration came after seeing a similar café elsewhere, which was providing company and support for isolated people referred by local GPs and local retailers.

Sefton Hall’s Forget-me-not café now opens on Thursday mornings between 10-11.30am and visitors can enjoy the refreshments and cakes baked and served by Sefton’s team of activity coordinators, with donations to Sefton Hall’s designated charity. There is also the possibility of inviting outside speakers, for example, from Dementia Alliance and local solicitors, to present to visitors.

Ogreanu believes the café will be a great way to connect residents with the community and give the wider community better insight into care home life. The café can accommodate12-15 people, staff are always present and there is CCTV to enhance security. Ogreanu sees the social space as giving people a sense of freedom and the opportunity to ‘feel alive’. She says: “Getting people outside changes them. To some extent a care home is a ‘closed door, but offering outside space gives residents a welcome sense of freedom.”

She also feels that the café will provide a useful insight into life at the home for people who may be considering a move. She said: “Care homes have a stigma of being the ‘last destination’ but that does not mean it has to be a prison. This is a way of showing people that a well-run home is a nice place to live that allows people to get on with their lives.”

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