Now, thanks to further funding from the RS Macdonald Charitable Trust, the development is able to carry on running –at least one evening per month until Spring 2019.
Maureen Hopkins, Resource Manager at Whitehill Court Day Care, said: “We’re delighted and incredibly grateful to be able to keep this fantastic service going.
“Being able to have a restaurant style meal in a recognisable and relaxed setting can help many people living with dementia to enjoy the experience and spend additional time with loved ones.
The one brilliant difference between Mary’s Kitchen and a real restaurant is that customers aren’t presented with a bill at the end of their meal – instead they are asked to make a donation.
“‘Mary’s Kitchen’ has been incredibly popular and funding like this is vital for it to continue, so we know there will be a lot of happy customers delighted to hear the news.”
So far, thanks to funding from the RS Macdonald Charitable Trust 184 older people living with dementia in the local community as well as 290 carers and loved ones have enjoyed visiting the development for birthdays, anniversaries or to simply enjoy a relaxing meal out.
The service also hosts a number of themed nights with a recent Burns Supper welcoming a local piper to entertain guests.
Maureen added: “The positive effect ‘Mary’s Kitchen’ has had on both service users and their families has been fantastic and we look forward to welcoming in many more hungry people over the next two years.”
The service is named in memory of Mary Abel who worked at Whitehill Court for 18 years as assistant manager.
Douglas Hamilton, Director of The R S Macdonald Charitable Trust, said: “Mary’s Kitchen is a simple idea, but a great example of an imaginative service that is making a real difference to the quality of life for people affected by dementia and their families.
“The restaurant nights provide an opportunity for people to celebrate special occasions or simply to have a night out – and ensures that their loved ones can be part of it. It is a service that brings so much joy, and we’re really pleased that we can play a small part in helping to make it happen.”
Mary’s Kitchen embodies Bield’s ‘Free to Be’ ethos which encourages service users to live their life in the way they choose.