A NEW meeting centre for people with dementia in Malvern has officially opened.

The centre will run twice a week from St Matthias Church in Church Road in Malvern and is the first of its kind to open in the area.

More than £20,000 was raised to carry out refurbishments to the meeting area at the church including a new floor and kitchen and toilet improvements.

Rev Phillip Johnson, vicar for the parish of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, said: “The support of our local community, councillors and MP have been invaluable.

“There have been significant challenges in getting this centre up and running but knowing that we were being backed so strongly ensured we had more than enough motivation to succeed.

“My thanks go to everyone involved including our partners Age UK and the University of Worcester”

The meeting centre, which is backed by Worcestershire County Council, the University of Worcester and Malvern Hills District Council, was formally opened by West Worcestershire MP Harriett Baldwin at a ceremony at the new centre attended by local volunteers.

Mrs Baldwin praised the fundraising efforts which have allowed the new meeting centre to open.

“Malvern is blessed with having many people who live much longer lives than a generation ago, but that also comes with the extra challenges of many more people who live with dementia,” she said.

“I’ve been really impressed with the way Phillip has grasped this challenge and got a dementia meeting centre up and running at double quick time and was happy to offer my support, both with fundraising and helping get support from key stakeholders.

“I was delighted to be able to formally open this centre and hope that there will be many more of these across West Worcestershire in the coming months and years.”

The centre will offer a programme of activities and events, initially for two days a week to engage, encourage and support people with dementia as well as offer support to family carers.

Members of dementia meeting centres learn how to make adjustments to their changing circumstances, make new friends, re-engage with the community and improve fitness.