The Coffee Pot Memory Café in Drighlington receives the King’s Award for Voluntary Service

On its 7th birthday, Friday 10 May 2024, the Coffee Pot Memory Café in Drighlington Methodist Church officially received its KAVS award, King’s Award for Voluntary Service, a celebration followed on Sunday 12 May by a Celebration Service.

14 May 2024

‘My husband had Alzheimers and I nursed him for more than ten years. When he passed away, Trevor said six words: “We should start a Memory Café”,’ says Jean, one of the founding members. ‘I answered, “Yes, we should but for the carers” as there was not much on offer then for them.’

They did their research until Paul Tolkin, one of the Memory Support Workers who regularly comes to the Memory Café in Drighlington Methodist Church in the Yorkshire West District, told them they had to start. So they did, going from less than ten people in 2017 to 50-60 regular people joining every Friday either for the regular tea and biscuits or for the monthly lunch.

Drighlington Memory Café has become one of the best-attended Memory Cafés in the area. With volunteers of all ages, all walks of life and skills, the attendees are well cared for, with food, entertainment and even hand massages, all helped by the Memory Support Workers who provide extra support when needed.

The KAVS Event

Drighlington Memory Café’s anniversary and KAVS’ celebration was well attended with more than 100 guests, including regular attendees, volunteers, Ed Anderson CBE, HM Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and two of his deputies, councillors and Dame Andrea Jenkyns MP.

As reminded by the Lord Lieutenant of West Yorkshire, the bar for KAVS is very high and rewards only exceptional services led by volunteers. In West Yorkshire, 33 projects were nominated in 2023 and 16 received the KAVS.


‘To have our hard work recognised is amazing. It is a tribute to everybody who volunteers,’ says Trevor, one of the founders. He had a surprise planned for the volunteers and the Memory Support Workers: each received a replica of the KAVS award with their name engraved. The celebration ended with Dame Andrea Jenkyns MP, who had shared the achievements of Drighlington Memory Café in Parliament, singing ‘Congratulations’.

What is Drighlington Memory Café?

The Memory Café was founded by Jean, Margaret and Trevor in 2017. ‘I felt we had let down Jean and her husband and I vowed that this would never happen again in my church and certainly not on my watch,’ says Trevor.

With passionate volunteers and much motivation, they set up a place where people can talk, eat, have fun and relax. One huge asset of the Memory Café is the link made with Memory Support Workers and other local professionals, so people with dementia and their carers can chat with them if necessary.

Talking about the volunteers, John says, ‘We all have something different to offer, in providing entertainment or doing the cooking.’ There is a rota for the volunteers to ensure they don’t overdo it and get burnt out. Jessie and Gabby are both young people who come whenever they can, ‘It is nice to see the difference you can make to other people and how happy it makes them.’

Drighlington Memory Café is thriving and so is Drighlington Methodist Church, its building undergoing an important renovation that will eventually provide the congregation and all the groups that use the building with a new kitchen, a conservatory and quiet rooms for private chats.