Making memories in Barnsley

Avatar for Impelling staff member Chris Foulstone

As we’re sponsoring another Memory Cafe soon, we wanted to share our thoughts on why we feel it’s such a positive thing for us to get involved with.

The directors of Impelling take their corporate social responsibilities very seriously. Consequently, our company has a history of sponsoring a variety of community events. So when Kathy Markwick approached us with the idea of getting involved in the dementia-friendly Memory Cafes in Barnsley, we were already receptive.

Memory Cafes are a community collaboration designed to encourage living well with dementia. Held in Barnsley, they take place every second week at the Berneslai Cafe inside Barnsley Town Hall. The activities rotate, with one week featuring arts and crafts and the other involving music.

It all started with Berneslai Cafe owner, Tom Carbery, being contractually obligated to keep his cafe open on Sundays. Unfortunately, Tom discovered the cafe was largely empty because Barnsley is fairly deserted on a Sunday. At the same time, in another part of Barnsley, the members of Barnsley Rockley Rotary Club had set aside £200 to fund a local dementia-related event. Then Tom met Kathy Markwick, Community Development Officer for Home Instead Senior Care Sheffield and a member of Barnsley Rockley Rotary Club, and the idea for the Berneslai Memory Cafes was born.

They decided Berneslai Cafe would host a bi-weekly event for dementia patients and their carers. Tom and his team would serve afternoon tea and Kathy would coordinate appropriate dementia-friendly entertainment and secure corporate sponsorship wherever possible. It’s a marvellous example of community cooperation at its best.

Berneslai Memory Cafe is a place for families to chat to other families over a lovely scone and a cuppa.  Dealing with dementia can be so challenging; Kathy and Tom and his team do an amazing job every time, whether Susan is singing or Roxana is being crafty!  It is a joy to see people smiling and singing.

~ Lisa Pogson, Joint Managing Director - Airmaster and President of Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber


The aim of the Memory Cafes is to create a safe, enjoyable day out for dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Carers are welcome to stay or they can enjoy some respite by leaving their loved one in good hands for a few hours.

Tom says he’s delighted to be putting something back into the community that’s embraced him since moving to Barnsley from Ireland.

Sharing cream teas with octogenarians and singing popular songs from the 1940s, 50s and 60s is pretty far removed from what we get up to during the week as a web and IT support company. But we needn't have worried. Memory Cafes are good fun regardless. From a business perspective, it's a bonus being able to signpost services and community activities to clients with ageing parents. It shows we're a tech company with warm, beating hearts and plenty of humanity.   

~ Julie Roberts, Business Development Manager - Impelling Solutions


The price to attend the cafes is £5 per person with 30 places available at each event. Booking in advance is required. Contact information and booking details can be found on the Berneslai Cafe website.


Dementia Memory Cafe photo gallery

Avatar for Impelling staff member Chris Foulstone

Chris Foulstone, Managing Director

Founder of Impelling, Chris has evolved the company from a small one man operation into a thriving digital agency. His pragmatic and friendly approach allows him to communicate a wealth of knowledge and deliver solutions to problems of all shapes and sizes.

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