Greys Matter day centre in Clare for elderly people affected by isolation and dementia seeks to fill void left by closure of Age UK Suffolk
A specialist day centre for isolated elderly residents has sought to fill the void left by a major charity’s sudden closure last year, as the country emerges from the Covid pandemic.
Participation has been steadily ramping up at Greys Matter Senior Day Care, a new service based in Clare, catering to older people affected by loneliness and those living with dementia.
Open three days a week at Eastfield Farm Barn in Cavendish Road, it was co-founded by Joyce Kaye and Elenna Dodds, former carers at Age UK Suffolk prior to its closure last summer.
The long-running charity ceased operations in June 2020, citing the adverse financial impact of the pandemic, affecting services such as the Chilton Club day centre in Sudbury, where the pair both worked.
Joyce explained that, following the collapse of Age UK, they had been helping a new Clare resident, Lillian Murrel, care for her husband, who has dementia, during their spare time, when the idea of opening the service first arose.
“Lillian found there weren’t any places to take her husband,” Joyce told Suffolk News. “She suggested, why not open a day centre somewhere in Clare?
“She financed it and Elenna and I brought the expertise – between us, we have a lot of history and experience of looking after people.
“We opened in November during the pandemic, obviously taking full precautions to keep our customers safe.
“We were allowed to start up despite the pandemic, as it was recognised how the elderly were suffering from a lack of interaction with others.
“Things were slow to begin with. A lot of people have lost their confidence in lockdown, and it’s quite a big step from doing nothing for months to coming out and mixing with other people.
“I think it’s starting to pay off now. We are getting a steady stream of people each week and, hopefully, our numbers will pick up even more. As we suspected, there were people out there who were desperate for some interaction.
“All of them look forward to coming to our sessions, because it gets them out of the house and socialising, or just listening to conversations.
“We want to have an established centre where people feel well looked after, entertained and are able to mix with each other.
“We are a small team, but we have many years of experience between us, both professional and personal, and we are passionate about what we do.”
Now fully open following the end of coronavirus restrictions, the centre is offering social activities tailored to the interests of its visitors, including puzzles, bingo, card games, music and quizzes.
Greys Matter is currently open between 10.30am and 3.30pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with ambitions to expand the opening hours to five days a week in the future.
For further information about the service, telephone 07920 229482 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.