Join in ... at Murray Bridge Community Centre’s Connection Cafe
Bruce Weber invites you to spend an afternoon at a gathering for people with dementia, their partners and carers.
Bruce Weber’s hands work quickly as he sits beneath the back verandah at Murray Bridge Community Centre on a sunny Monday afternoon.
He pokes at a piece of foam with a felting needle, matting together fibres for his latest creation.
Mr Weber is a dab hand at reusing all sorts of materials in his artworks, from buttons to watches, and his creativity is becoming well known locally.
But this is no art group.
The people here are bound together by their perspective on life.
The Connection Cafe, as it’s called, is a weekly gathering for locals living with dementia and their partners or carers, supported by the Office for Ageing Well.
Every Monday from 1pm they share conversations and make connections in a supportive and friendly environment.
When did you first get involved with the Connection Cafe?
This I’ve been going to for two months.
What do you spend your time doing each week?
There are different things you can learn. You might not know much, but you can share a bit of knowledge with someone. Felting, I didn’t have much knowledge about it, but I thought “I’ll give it a go”. You recycle everything and it turns out great. It’s so relaxing. I’ll just sit here (working). It’s just a matter of giving it a go … It’s good to be able to say you’ve done something each day. I just bring (an art project) along just to show people they can do something while they’re sitting around, or there’s a game they could play.
What do you get out of your involvement?
There's not much out there for people (with dementia) to do. You get a lot of programs where people come and sit in your house or sit in your room, but it’s like vegetation. You’ve got to get out, be with people, be part of the community. That’s what it’s about: stepping out. You might not know people at first, but you ... try to help each other.
What is your fondest memory of your time at the community centre?
Many years ago I came here when I came to Murray Bridge, over 30 years ago. I was trying to sort my life out ... I got involved in a men’s group here and found it warm and welcoming. That changed my attitude towards people. It’s really important to have places for people to go.
What is your goal with this group?
If I can make one person smile, I get a lot of self-worth … Just getting out and helping people along the way, that gives me self-worth. I have a little garden out the front of my place and sell plants during the week, too. I’m not worried about money, as long as I've got my $9 for seeds. It’s about giving back to people.
Why should people come to the Connection Cafe?
People are very friendly here. Whenever I come into the community centre there are people who treat me like a human being – they treat me with respect. Everybody that comes in here, they treat everybody the same ... they’re warm and welcoming.
More information: 8531 1799.
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