There’s no denying that a diagnosis of dementia can make people feel scared and alone.
That’s why it’s so important to bring people together, to talk about experiences and to encourage more support for this life-changing condition. I can think of no better way to do this than Dementia UK’s annual Time for a Cuppa party which I have taken part in every year since it started back in 2009.
Dementia affects every family differently but with Time for a Cuppa families are brought together to raise awareness and funds for more desperately needed specialist dementia nurses (Admiral Nurses). My dear husband, Tony, was diagnosed with vascular dementia and I don’t think I would have coped without their invaluable practical and emotional support.
I remember being put in touch with my Admiral Nurse, Helen Springthorpe, all those years ago by my local doctor. Helen ran a support group for people going through similar challenges and it had such a strong following – even our local MP came! It was this sense of bringing people together which encouraged me to have a go at hosting my very own Time for a Cuppa party.
The first of many…
The first Time for a Cuppa party I hosted back in 2009 was in my house with a good friend of mine. It was an afternoon tea and we had a lot of generous donations. We didn’t go to town with the venue but I can honestly say it worked.
There have been so many memorable Time for a Cuppa moments for me. There was an Alice in Wonderland themed party one year where everyone pulled out all the stops for their outfits! One time I even headed out to town with a couple of friends, complete with Dementia UK billboards, and we became the town criers for a Time for a Cuppa event in the town hall. Everyone was mucking in and that’s the true spirit of the event.
The great thing about Time for a Cuppa is the range of beverages and cakes on offer. Lemon drizzle is a personal favourite of mine and it’s always fun when people bring their homemade goods. It’s a true labour of love.
If hosting your own tea party may seem like a bit of a challenge, I can honestly say that you don’t have to worry about it all as the Dementia UK team is so incredibly supportive. It’s the icing on the cake.
The main reason why I decided to do Time for a Cuppa was to give something back to the community, to do it for my beloved Tony who is sadly no longer with us, and to acknowledge the invaluable support of the Admiral Nurses who got me through the toughest moments. It’s a cause that I am so passionate about and I wish everyone taking part in their own Time for a Cuppa party in 2019 the very best of luck.
And of course, happy 10th anniversary to Time for a Cuppa!
– Helen Fowler, Volunteer Ambassador for Dementia UK