My mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia 10 years before she passed away. She lived in a local nursing home where I supported her during this time. My mother’s last and greatest pleasure was tea and cake and that’s why I got so involved with Time for a Cuppa.
Becoming a Volunteer Ambassador
When my mother died, I took to researching how I could help others in similar situations and I found Dementia UK online. One of the biggest things I realised was that our experience with dementia would have been very different with the support of a specialist dementia nurse, known as an Admiral Nurse. And so, when I learned how many areas still didn’t have an Admiral Nurse in place, I wanted to support the charity by becoming a Volunteer Ambassador.
Having the title really cemented my commitment to helping others living with dementia, so when I saw Time for a Cuppa advertised as a fundraising event, I made that connection with my mother and wanted to get involved.
Nine Time for Cuppa events so far
I’ve hosted nine Time for a Cuppa events so far and what I love most is getting to share cake and tea with friends and having the space and time for everyone to share their experiences and stories of dementia. It’s a time where I can share information about Admiral Nurses too. My mum loved sitting with friends having tea and cake, so it’s been easy for me to talk about her and our experience at my events to raise the profile of Dementia UK.
Time for a Cuppa was slightly different in 2021 due to the pandemic, but I managed to make things work for my event. I did my usual – posting invites to neighbours – but this time I also put invites through the doors of new neighbours on nearby streets.
I told people I was hosting my Time for a Cuppa week from Monday to Friday in the afternoons, and if there were ever too many people there, I’d ask them to come back later on. It worked really well and it was lovely to meet new neighbours. I also made sure to deliver cake to anyone who wanted to attend but was hesitant to come in person.
To raise funds, I ask guests to donate to attend so they can decide how much they would like to give. In addition to the cakes on offer, I also make marmalade to sell on the day and throughout the year to boost donations. I find that my friends will return the jar and ask me to refill it for another donation, which is great.
You get a Time for a Cuppa collection box in your fundraising pack so you can put that out on the day to collect your cash donations. I also recommend setting up a JustGiving page so that friends, family and guests can donate online if they would like.
My top tips for Time for a Cuppa:
Give yourself plenty of time for the preparations and on the day. I’ve started to make my cakes in advance and freeze them as I go through quite a lot – it ensures I have enough for all my guests. I’ll usually watch how many cakes are taken in the morning and then decide if I need to bring any out of the freezer for the afternoon or the next day
If you have personal experience of dementia, it can be really helpful to share this with your guests and to mention the work of Dementia UK’s specialist Admiral Nurses
Watch how much you’re spending on your ingredients. I use the cost of ingredients as my donation to Dementia UK. I calculate how much of each ingredient I’ll need for the number of guests I’m expecting and cakes I’m making. Keep in mind that people never eat as much cake as you expect. And if you don’t want to bake, that’s fine – you can buy cakes and as long as they are presented nicely, no one will mind
How would you summarise Time for a Cuppa?
Time for a Cuppa is all about making time to share a cuppa and cake – and at the same time, raising money to support Dementia UK’s Admiral Nurses. It’s really rewarding, and I’ll definitely be taking part this year and inviting everyone I know, and my new neighbours. I may even go to another street to spread the word in the community. I’ll also make sure to go back to my mother’s old nursing home and ask if they would like to support me.
Time for a Cuppa
Make Time for a Cuppa this May and raise vital funds for families facing dementia