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Published: 7 October 2021

Mayor cuts ribbon to officially open vintage tea room

Tonbridge Cottage Hospital tea roomA shabby and unloved room at Tonbridge Cottage Hospital has had a 1950s makeover and is now a vintage tea room open for patients to enjoy.

The tea room, at the hospital in Vauxhall Lane, was officially opened by the Mayor of Tonbridge and Malling Cllr Roger Roud. He is pictured with his wife Pam and Grahame Hardy, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust's Dementia Specialist Lead for west Kent.

The project was generously funded by the hospital’s League of Friends and a donation from the Tonbridge and East Peckham Dementia Friendly Community. The décor includes a 1950s piano, a TV showing advertising from the era called Ad-Memoire and a memorabilia table with cookbooks, records and boardgames.

Grahame Hardy, Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust's Dementia Specialist Lead for west Kent, said: “This tea room is the result of lots of hard work from everyone at Tonbridge hospital and I hope it can be used by our patients and their families to reminisce, chat and enjoy on a regular basis.

"For patients living with dementia, this tea room will promote hydration and nutrition which is so important in dementia care.

“My thanks go to our supporters and in particular Trash or Treasure, Magic Moves and Sir Winston’s Tearoom in Westerham for inspiration and donations that have really helped to recreate the 1950s in the tea room.”

The official opening was also part of a garden party at Tonbridge Cottage Hospital with selected guests invited to find out more about dementia care in the community.  The event was run in line with KCHFT's Covid-safe guidelines including social distancing and good hand hygiene.

Stalls included Ad-Memoire – dementia software for nostalgia, Alzheimer’s Society – Kent and East Sussex branch, Tonbridge and East Peckham Dementia Friendly Community, The Good Care Group and Sevenoaks Dementia Friendly Community, OMI Interactive Demonstration – dementia software for exercise and interaction, RITA – dementia software for reminiscence and FIND Memory Services – dementia signage and murals.

Tonbridge author Laura de Bono was on hand to sign copies of her book Losing My Mind – Insider Knowledge to understand Dementia. Her Just Giving page aims to raise £5,000 for Tonbridge Cottage Hospital; she has so far raised £3,600.