Main Street Memory Cafe in Frodsham was founded in November 2023 by seven core volunteers. It runs weekly on a Wednesday from 10:30 to 1:30 at Main Street Community Church, providing friendly, informal sessions with tea, coffee and a listening ear. It’s a vital lifeline for people whose lives are affected by dementia, and attendees range in age from 91 years old down to children who come along to support their grandparents. Around 10-20% of cafe attendees also go to Singing for Brain with the Alzheimer’s Society, which takes place in the adjacent room after the cafe has finished.


When people are diagnosed with dementia by a GP or Memory Clinic, the amount of time available to discuss the diagnosis and its implications is limited, so Main Street Memory Cafe aims to fill this gap. However, the benefits of accessing information, peer support, guest speakers and therapists in a relaxed setting with refreshments all come at a cost. Main Street Memory Cafe is entirely volunteer-run and relies on funding to keep its doors open. The outlay of £50 for room rental each week, as well as the cost of teas, coffees and insurance, is met by grants and fundraising, and concern that money to keep the doors open could run out is a constant fear. The volunteer team constantly forecasts how many weeks ahead it can fund.


The volunteers learned about Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Welcoming Spaces Grant Fund through Cheshire Community Action, which regularly offers advice to the cafe. They found the grant application process, which Cheshire Community Action managed, straightforward to negotiate, and quickly received a decision.


Thanks to successfully receiving a Welcoming Spaces grant, Main Street Memory Cafe has secured funds to cover general running costs to keep the doors open for some weeks. Grants of this kind are critical to the cafe’s survival, as are company donations such as the tea and coffee supplied by the local branch of Morrisons.