Dementia-Friendly Essex: Your Guide To Local Initiatives

Dementia-Friendly Essex: Your Guide To Local Initiatives

There are many great initiatives and activity groups in Essex for people with dementia, helping to ensure that they can keep their minds and bodies active and remain social. Dementia-friendly groups and events help to make sure that life with dementia can still be fun and active, with as little stress as possible.

You may also be interested in reading our downloadable Age Space Guide to Dementia, which includes many practical tips on managing life with dementia.

This page will guide you through the local initiatives that are running, and who to contact in order to be involved.

Dementia Cafes in Essex

Dementia cafes are a great opportunity for the person you care for, and yourself, to socialise and discuss experiences with people in a similar situation to yourselves. Some cafes also have health professionals who you can seek advice and information from.

There are dementia cafes throughout Essex, run by different groups. Below you can see all of the cafes in operation and when/where they run.

Rotary Loughton Memory Cafe, Loughton

memory cafe loughton

The Rotary Memory Cafe in Loughton provides drinks and activities for people with memory issues and their carers, including bingo and arts and crafts.

When: Every 2nd Friday of the month 10-12pm 
Where: The Loughton Club 8 Station Road, Loughton IG10 4NX
Telephone: 07973166940

Brentwood Care Centre Dementia Cafe, Brentwood

The Brentwood Care Centre Dementia cafe is a group for individuals who have loved ones living with dementia. There is information provided on living with dementia, and regular guest speakers who have dementia-based services or products.

When: Contact the centre to find out when the next cafe is.
Where: Brentwood Care Centre, Larchwood Gardens, Pilgrims Hatch, Brentwood, CM15 9NG
Telephone: 01277 375316

Blue Flower Cafes, Brentwood and Hutton

The Blue Flower Cafe meets monthly in Brentwood and Hutton, providing support for people living with dementia and their carers by sharing experiences and advice over hot drinks and refreshments.

When: Third Monday of the month, 10.30am to 12pm
Where: Sainsburys Cafe, 51 William Hunter Way, Brentwood CM14 4WQ
Telephone: 01277 811105

When: First Wednesday of the month, 10.30am to 12pm
Where: Hutton Community Centre, Harrison Close, Hutton, Brentwood CM13 1LP
Telephone: 01277 811105

Dementia Cafe, Colchester

cakes at cafe in colchester

Barchester Healthcare run a Dementia Café for their residents and other members of the community to meet and enjoy time together. Different activities are available for people to partake in as well as fresh cakes, tea and coffee.

When: Contact the cafe to find out when they are next meeting.
Where: Woodland View, Turner Road, Colchester CO4 5JR
Telephone: 07741 147078

Colchester Dementia Cafe

Organised by the Essex Partnership University Trust, dementia healthcare professionals and representatives from the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK all attend this cafe in Colchester. You can speak to these experts and others in a similar situation to yourself.

When: Wednesdays 10.00 – 12.00
Where: 12 Boadicea Way, Colchester CO2 9BQ
Telephone: 01206 228970

Saffron Walden Dementia Cafe

The Saffron Walden Dementia Cafe is a social and support group organised by Volunteer Uttlesford. The cafe allows people with dementia and their carers to meet up for stimulating activities and companionship.

When: Every Friday afternoon from 2pm to 4pm
Where: The Garden Room, Hill Street, Saffron Walden, CB10 1EH
Telephone: 01799 510525

Dunmow Dementia Cafe

The Dunmow Dementia Cafe is a social, peer-support group in Uttlesford for people with dementia and their carers to support one another.

When: 10.30 a.m. – 12.00 p.m., Mondays
Where: Dunmow Day Centre, Chequers Lane, CM6 1EQ
Telephone: 01371 878400

Manningtree Dementia Cafe

Dementia cafe grouo in Essex

Manningtree Dementia Cafe offers refreshments and friendly support for people affected by with dementia and their carers. They endeavour to ensure that health professionals, such as Admiral Nurses, are available to attend the cafes each month.

When: 3rd Friday of each month from 10.30am to 12.30pm.
Where: Manningtree Dementia Cafe, Foundry Court, Colchester Road, Lawford, Manningtree
Telephone: 01255 870955

Dengie D-Caf, Maldon

The Dengie D-Caf provides support for people with dementia and their carers on the Dengie Peninsula.

When: 1st Wednesday of every month from 10.30am until 12.30pm
Where: The Town Council Offices, Chapel Road, Burnham on Crouch, CM0 8JA

Memory Cafe, Billericay

This cafe in Billericay enables people with memory problems and their carers to meet regularly with other people in similar situations to support each other and take part in activities, including quizzes, singing, games and so on.

When: Alternate Thursdays from 13:30 – 15:30
Where: The Loft Crown Yard, High Street, Billericay, CM12 9BX

Dementia-Friendly Church Services in Essex

dementia worship in Essex

Dementia-friendly Church Services differ from regular services in that they have a shorter formal service, and often have activities such as arts and crafts afterwards. These relaxed services allow people with dementia to maintain their religion in an environment that suits them.

The three churches below run Memory Worship sessions monthly.

Wesley Methodist Church, Leigh-on-Sea

When: 2pm – 4pm on the 3rd monday of the month
Where: Elm Road, Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, SS9 1SJ
Telephone: 01702 483827

Thorpe Bay Methodist Church, Thorpe Bay

When: 2pm-4pm, 1st Monday of each month,
Where: Thorpe Bay Methodist Church, The Broadway, Thorpe Bay, SS1 3HQ
Telephone: 01702 589263

Highwoods Methodist Church, Colchester

When: 2pm-4pm, 2nd Wednesday of the month,
Where: Gavin Way, Colchester, Essex CO4 9FF

Dementia-Friendly Shopping in Essex

East of England Co-op

The East of England Co-op is the biggest independent retailer in the East of England, and has taken some steps in recent years to become more dementia-friendly for their shoppers. This has included a day event where staff wore body suits and special goggles, that stiffen joints and impair vision, and were asked to attempt a daily shop – the idea being to put their staff in the “shoes” of their elderly guests.

You can use this helpful tool on the East of England Co-op website to Find Your Nearest Store.

Dementia-Friendly Exercise Groups

Keeping Active Groups, Dunmow, Harlow and Epping

dementia exercise in Essex

Keeping Active Groups, run by Action for Family Carers, are groups to help people to engage in a wide range of physical activities while having fun and socialising. This includes seated exercise, indoor bowling, music and dance and a range of team games, If you want to find out more about the Keeping Active Groups you can contact Action for Family Carers on 0300 770 80 90.

Dunmow Group

When: Mondays from 10.00am until 12.30pm 
Dourdan Pavilion
The Causeway

Harlow Group

When: Wednesdays from 10.00am until 12.30pm 
St Andrew’s Church
The Stow
CM20 3AF

Epping Group

When: Thursdays from 10.00am until 12.30pm
Quakers Meeting Hall
Hemnall Street
CM16 4LL

Dementia Friendly Swimming – Basildon, Canvey Island and Witham

Sport for Confidence work to provide dementia-friendly swimming sessions. They aims to deliver a dementia friendly swimming group where individuals with dementia can attend the leisure centres at their quietest times. Individuals are welcomed to bring family, carers or friends into the pool with them, and there is assistance on hand.


When: Monday from 15.00 – 16.00
Where: Basildon Sporting Village, Cranes Farm Rd, Basildon SS14 3GR.

Canvey Island

When: Wednesday from 12pm-12.45pm
Where: Waterside Farm Leisure Centre, Somnes Avenue, Canvey Island SS8 9RA


When: Thursdays from 13.00 – 14.00
Where: Witham Leisure Centre, Spinks Lane, CM8 1EP

Dementia-Friendly Walks

Walking is another great and easy way for people with dementia to exercise. Essex Fire and Rescue Service run some dementia-friendly walk-and-talk groups in Halstead, Braintree and Witham.


Where: Begins at Halstead Fire Station
When:  First Monday of every month


Where: Begins at Braintree Town Hall
When: First Tuesday of every month


Where: Begins at Witham Leisure Centre
When: First Wednesday of every

Dementia-Friendly Entertainment in Essex

Dementia-Friendly Singing Groups

Singing for Memory at Woodford Forest United Synagogue

dementia singing group essex

Singing for Memory is a singing session providing a friendly and stimulating social environment, bringing together people with dementia and their carers. These engaging activities tap in to the heightened memory for song and music in the brain. 

When: waiting for email
Where: Woodford Forest United Synagogue, 20 Churchfields, Redbridge, Greater London, E18 2QZ
Telephone: 020 8504 1990

Singing for the Brain, Colchester and Chelmsford


When: First and third Thursday of each month, 1.30-3pm
Where: Orchard Baptist Church, 23 Blackheath, Colchester, CO2 0AE
Telephone: 01245 260911


When: First Thursday of every month, 2-3.30pm
Where: Springfield Parish Centre, St. Augustines Way, Chelmsford, CM1 6GX
Telephone: 01245 260911


When: Third Wednesday of every month, 2.15-3.45pm
Where: Mill Hall, Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh, SS6 7ED
Telephone: 01245 260911

Dementia-Friendly Music Groups

Together in Sound Music Therapy

Together in Sound is an interactive music therapy group for those living with dementia and their carers provided by Saffron Hall in partnership with Anglia Ruskin University. Together in Sound music therapy groups aim to bring the power of music to those living with dementia. You can apply to join one of their 10-week courses from the Saffron Hall website.

Visit Website
Telephone: 01799 588545

Dementia-Friendly Library Services in Essex

Essex Libraries offer a Memory Support Card for people with dementia which has no fees on books that are returned late. If your relative with dementia struggles to visit the library themselves, they also offer a Freinds and Family Card, meaning you or someone else close to your relative can take out books from the library in their name for them.

Dementia-Friendly Cinema in Essex

Witham Library

dementia friendly cinema essex

Every Sunday Witham Town Council hosts a Sunday Cinema session screening classic films from the golden age of cinema, suitable for people with dementia. Entry is just £1 per person and includes tea, coffee and biscuits. 


Empire Theatre, Halstead

The Empire Theatre in Halstead runs a dementia-friendly cinema screening once a month. Entry to the screenings is free entry, and there is also free tea, coffee, biscuits and cake.

Visit Website

Beautiful Mind Cinema Club, Thurrock

Thurrock Council put on dementia-friendly cinema screenings at the Thameside Theatre in Grays. Additional entertainment and refreshments are included before the film in the price of the ticket.

Visit Website

Dementia Action Alliances in Essex

Dementia Action Alliances are groups that have formed in different areas of Essex to plan and take active steps in making Essex a more dementia-friendly place to live.

Below you can find links to all of the Essex Dementia Action Alliance groups where you can find out more about the support they are providing in Essex to make life easier for people with dementia and their carers.

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