Case Study: Kate and Laura, Moments Cafe and Community Hub

Kate and Laura, Moments Cafe and Community Hub


In the middle of Plymouth city centre is a bright and friendly public café designed to take people on a trip down memory lane. But Moments is much more than a café; it is a not-for-profit community enterprise set up by two nurses, to support people living with dementia.

In the middle of Plymouth city centre is a bright and friendly public café designed to take people on a trip down memory lane or to create conversation. Furnished with nostalgia, there are plenty of things to be admired and remembered from the mid-century sideboards to the bakelite radios and the flying ducks on the walls! The café, unique in many ways, has been designed by people living with dementia.

moments-logo.png#asset:220:sideImage

But Moments is much more than a café; it is a not-for-profit community enterprise set up by two nurses, Kate and Laura, to support people living with dementia. Essentially, it is somewhere for people to go for information, advice and empathy.

“We wanted to bring dementia out into the open,” says Kate Smith, one of the two directors. “It is one of the most feared conditions in our country and it shouldn’t be, because, despite what people fear, you are able to live well with dementia.”

In a relatively short space of time Moments has become a destination venue, sought out for the unique service it provides as well as being accessible and accommodating for a coffee. In the twelve months since it opened in March 2017 the café has attracted more than 50,000 people and about 600 have visited the community hub upstairs. It is here where Moments can be transformative;

“Some of the people who come to us are over-whelmed; scared and vulnerable,” says Kate. “What we do is give them somewhere to come; someone to listen and someone to help.”

The community hub is staffed by Memory Matters South West CIC, specialists and qualified nurses in providing workshops, respite and activity sessions for people living with dementia, as well as an appointment-free drop-in service for advice and guidance, ensuring that there is always someone on hand to help. There are regular, weekly workshops and activities, such as, Memory Matters Activity Club; Active Steps exercise and movement classes and Tai Chi run by Eldertree.

Funding to set up Moments came from Plymouth City Council’s Social Enterprise Investments Fund , made up of a 20% grant and an 80% loan, which paid for a feasibility study and then - most of - the build. However, the money ran out before the community hub was completed and so Kate and Laura launched a crowdfunding campaign: their target was £8,000, they attracted £15,000. 

Moments also helps to look after the homeless, inviting its customers to ‘Pay it Forward’ buying a meal or drink for a homeless person. The cash becomes vouchers which are handed out out to people living on the streets via the city’s sreet pastors. So every meal that is sold truly makes a difference: the profits from the cafe pay for the Hub and enable the information centre to be run free-of-charge, as a drop-in, without an appointment and staffed by experts and the café’s customers help to support homeless people. It’s not surprising then that a recent impact report by Plymouh City Council found that, within its first six months, Moments had proved a great return on investment. It really is money well spent.

Collaboration is central to Moment’s success; partnerships continue to evolve with organisations across the city, committed to helping others, such as, Improving Lives, Livewell Southwest CIC, Eldertree, Plymouth City Council, Plymouth Clinical Commissioning Group, Iridescent Ideas, RIO. For an example of how to work well with others, for others, Moments is an exemplary example. Now its plans are to keep on growing, to deliver more community services and collaborate with more organisations to help more people. And maybe open another one or two magic Moments elsewhere!