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Project information

Dementia Friendly Museum and Gallery Cafés

4 museums and galleries across Sheffield will provide supported access for people living with dementia and their carers to enjoy socialising in our welcoming spaces. Creative activities including historic object handling will encourage participants to tell stories and share their memories.

January 2018 - January 2019

Charity information: Museums Sheffield

Museums Sheffield logo
  • Need


    850,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with dementia; estimates suggest this number will increase to 1 million by 2021. In Sheffield, 6,000 people live with dementia. The project will break down existing barriers to living well with dementia, including social isolation. Research shows social isolation is twice as detrimental for health as obesity or smoking.


    Sheffield's museums are for everyone. Enjoying cultural activities has a powerful impact on physical and mental health, and on those living with long-term conditions including dementia. Cafes will reduce social isolation by providing a supportive environment where people with dementia and their carers can meet and engage meaningfully with historic collections. Creative activities will encourage people to stories and memories. Participants will gain confidence to access cultural venues.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To promote access to museums and galleries for people living with dementia and their companions


    » Marketing activity and promotion across partner networks

    What success will look like

    At least 10 visitors living with dementia with their carers/ companions / family members (20 people in total) at each Café session

    Aim 2

    To support people in reminiscence and conversation and encourage them to share their stories


    » We will host 12 dementia café sessions in 2018, one per month - Weston Park, Kelham Island, Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet and Millennium Gallery

    What success will look like

    Participants will be engaged and enjoying conversation during the sessions.

    Aim 3

    To attract regular attenders to the Café sessions and encourage ongoing social interaction


    » Build partnerships in the city with Sheffield Dementia Action Alliance, Alzheimer’s Society and AGEUK Sheffield, Sheffield Carers Centre

    What success will look like

    Repeat attendance will be testament to participants’ enjoyment of the sessions and strengthened social relationships

    Aim 4

    To ensure museums are a key offer in support for those living with dementia and their carers.


    » Train staff and volunteers in Dementia Awareness and becoming ‘Dementia Friends’

    What success will look like

    Sheffield Museums to continue actively supporting the Dementia Action Alliance and partner organisations

    Aim 5

    To change perceptions of what people with dementia can achieve


    » To collect stories and record memories from people with dementia - for example, this could be shared through a community exhibition project

    What success will look like

    Through a community exhibition at Kelham Island Museum

  • Impact


    We aim to provide a great museums and galleries service for everyone, every day. The project will support people with dementia and their carers, who might otherwise encounter barriers to visiting cultural venues. Access to inspirational arts and culture transforms lives.

    A community display will help to change public perceptions.

    We will monitor the number of visitors to the sessions and collect feedback to understand individual's responses to sessions.


    In seeking to engage a hard to reach audience, there is a risk that our promotional activity won’t reach those most in need or that people might not feel confident to attend an initial session. We plan to work closely with partners in the Dementia Action Alliance to promote our offer to those in a position to champion the project for us – staff at care homes, in community settings and those working in adult social care.


    Donors to this project who sign up to our mailing list will receive a quarterly e-newsletter that will include information on the project including forthcoming activities.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £4,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,000 Training 5 training sessions for museum and gallery staff, café staff and volunteers
      £1,900 Cafes Delivery of cafes including staffing
      £900 Engagement Marketing activity & building partnerships
      £200 Community Display Display at a museum, showcasing what people with dementia can achieve
  • Background


    Sheffield is a city in Yorkshire in the north of England. With a population of 551,800, it is one of the United Kingdom's and Europe's biggest cities. Around 1.75 million people live in the wider metropolitan area, (South Yorkshire), which includes Rotherham, Barnsley, and Doncaster.

    The most geographically varied city in England, Sheffield is a major industrial, cosmopolitan and cultural centre renowned for its green open spaces, creative talents, galleries, sport facilities and cutlery.


    - People living with dementia, primarily aged over 55
    - Carers, friends and / or family members
    - Volunteers and staff will receive training
    - The public and city of Sheffield – sharing people’s stories through recording oral history and a community exhibition will help to change perceptions

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Museums Sheffield has a strong ethos of being inclusive and welcoming to all, and has rich historic collections to inspire reminiscence and discovery. We will work with Sheffield Industrial Museums Trust, who have gained experience by trialing these sessions, and will access the expertise of staff who have worked for a number of years with older people’s networks in Sheffield. Sheffield’s museums and galleries are already established partners within the wider Dementia Action Alliance network.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Cassa Townsend

    Head of Visitor Engagement & Volunteering has experience of managing visitor engagement & volunteering programmes across Yorkshire.

    Maria Flude

    Community Participation Officer for Kelham Island Museum and a Director of the Sheffield Dementia Action Alliance.