Cotesbach Local History Cafe
The café provides valuable social opportunities for older people to meet and create new friendships. By encouraging the sharing of stories and knowledge, attendees engage in stimulating conversations which positively impact on their overall well-being.
A Local History Café was established at the Cotesbach Educational Trust, to provide social opportunities for older people to meet and form new friendships over lunch and through stimulating conversations about history and genealogy. Based at an education centre in a historic listed building, the project has given opportunities for older, socially isolated individuals to reminisce about their own lives whilst also contributing to the centre's own archives through their personal recollections of local history.
The project has achieved positive impacts on the wellbeing of the participants, through opportunities for stimulating conversations and sharing of stories and knowledge, whilst making new friends. The reminiscence activities have also had positive impacts for individuals with dementia, as these types of activities have been found to be effective in delaying/reducing the effects of dementia.
The group were also given the opportunity to develop an exhibition based on their findings, discussions and activities. The project was further successful in identifying participants to attend the activities, through partnership working with Lutterworth Community Transport and other local older people's charities/groups, to ensure local residents were able to attend.
One of the key pieces of learning was the level of demand and interest in the project from local participants – the project activities were initially oversubscribed. The project's activities have clearly struck a chord with local residents and offered a unique and valuable opportunity to combine social history, heritage and wellbeing.