Switchboard Opens The Rainbow Cafe to Support LGBTQ Dementia

Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard have opened our new community project – the Rainbow Café, a new group to support LGBTQ people who live with memory loss or dementia.

With funding from the Rainbow Fund and Brighton and Hove Dementia Action Alliance, the Rainbow Café is new initiative for LGBTQ people living with dementia or memory loss and their friends, families and carers.

Launching the project last week to a packed crowd Switchboard’s CEO Daniel Cheesman said ‘we have had such positive feedback that we are providing this service in the City. We know that there is a big need to provide an LGBTQ specific space for those experiencing dementia. Gay or straight, dementia doesn’t discriminate and whilst we can’t do much about the condition itself we can play our part to ensure that environments are supportive and fully inclusive.’

Daniel said, ‘our research shows that LGBTQ people face additional barriers when it comes to dementia, with settings making the wrong assumptions about someone sexuality or gender identity. On its own this can be upsetting, but when someone is also faced with a dementia diagnosis it can really make things worse. Rainbow Café will offer a safe space for LGBTQ people living with dementia and through it we will also work with others to ensure that the needs of LGBTQ people are really understood.’

The Rainbow Café was opened by the Mayor Councillor Mo Marsh and with a performance of the awarding winning play ‘The Purple List: A Gay Dementia Venture’.  The play captures the story of a same sex couple, whose life is interrupted with a diagnosis of dementia. The performance was followed by a question and answer session with a panel made up of services supporting dementia. The panel acknowledged that there is still work to do in terms of supporting LGBTQ people living with the condition and Switchboard were praised for their efforts in responding to the need.

The Rainbow Café will run monthly with the next meeting taking place 11am-1pm on Thursday 21st March at Brooke Mead, Albion Street. To find about more about the Rainbow Café, email the Switchboard at [email protected] or call the Switchboard office on 01273 234009 for more information. You can also find more information about the service here.