Publicity and outreach

How do you make sure people in your community know about your memory cafe?
How do you make sure that they feel motivated to come along, or recommend the cafe to others who might benefit?

Why do it?

You’ll need to publicise your cafe, and actively reach out to others in your community.

You might have a range of reasons for doing this:

  • To attract new members.
  • To raise your profile with those that might refer people to you.
  • To raise your profile for potential funders and general fundraising.
  • To attract potential volunteers.
  • To raise awareness of the cafe within the broader community.
  • To raise awareness of dementia, and of the presence of people with dementia in the wider community.

The message for each of these will be different. Thinking about your message and your audience is discussed in more detail in the first film below.

Where to do it?

You might also think about where to promote your cafe. Again, this will differ depending on the audience and the message. For example – a campaign to reach more potential members might be mailed to:

  • GP surgeries
  • Primary care centres
  • Memory clinics
  • Public health nurses
  • Parish offices
  • Community notice boards
  • Local or regional newspapers
  • Regional radio stations
  • Community mental health centre offices
  • Carer support workers offices
  • Chemists
  • Public libraries
  • Local Information and community boards
  • Church Halls
  • Offices of local and national charities
  • Local signposting services
  • Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs and other voluntary organisations

Whereas something aimed at attracting new volunteers might be targeted at:

  • Schools and colleges
  • Town halls and other public buildings
  • Sports and leisure centres
  • Libraries
  • Churches
  • Shop windows
  • Pubs
  • Job Centres

Word of mouth

Even in this age of hyper-connectivity, don’t underestimate the power of word-of-mouth promotion. People talk to other people, and if they are having a good time, they will let others know. For this reason, having a simple leaflet which describes your cafe available at each meeting for people to take away and show to others is important. It might contain links to a website, Facebook page or other social media links. More on that below too.

Here is a sample of actual leaflets used by a few memory cafes to give you an idea of the content and layout that you could use when making yours. (Click on each image to enlarge it.)


Some films about publicity

On this page we have three films giving some ideas about publicity and outreach. Like most of the films in this series, these will not provide an exact manual of what to do. Rather they are designed to give some ideas, to show some examples from memory cafes and also to frame some of the questions you need to address and debate when designing your publicity campaign.

  • What audiences do we want to get in touch with?
  • What are the messages we want to get across?
  • How best can we reach our target audience and motivate them to act?

In this first film, we’ll look at the importance of knowing your audience, and how to go beyond the traditional ‘leaflet drop’ to get your messages out there:

The importance of networking

Working with other organisations gives you the opportunity to cross-promote each other’s services to your members. But it will reap other benefits too. For example:

  • Better co-ordination of the services on offer – to make sure for example that the memory cafe isn’t running at the same time as another key service for people with dementia.
  • You can share the costs of things like training by commissioning together.
  • You’ll learn from each other and find new ways of doing things.

Using social media

These days most people turn to the internet when looking for local services and support. Older people are increasingly digitally connected and tech-savvy, but if they are not, their children will almost certainly be.

So how can we make sure that our online and social media presence is doing the right job for us and reaching the right people?

Social media and the internet can be a bit bewildering. So here is a quick summary of tools that you can use.


A lot of larger memory cafes have a small website, or else they are part of a larger care organisation with a website, within which they have a web page. A website is good because it can easily be found in a Google search. So call it something obvious like:

A website can be static. You don’t need to keep adding new information or changing it. You need your contact information, when and where the memory cafe meets. You could put a couple of short testimonials on it, and a link to our film “What is a memory cafe?” (details below) with a brief explanation as to what your memory cafe offers. The most important thing is that someone finding it on a Google search can get in contact with you.

Find a volunteer who knows how to set up a website and get them to do it. They need to check your desired domain name is free, register it and pay the hosting costs (usually between £10 and £20 a year). They can buy an off-the-shelf package or use web builder like WordPress. It is not a complicated thing to do.

Make sure that if any information changes, you update it on your site. Otherwise it requires very little maintenance.

If you don’t want to set up your own website – see if you can get a page on someone else’s website or get your basic information on other lists available online.


A Facebook page is more immediate and will require updating much more often. But it is a good way to stay in touch with a wider audience. But you must think about who your audience is. Do you want to attract new people to the memory cafe and reach out to your wider community? Or do you want to simply stay in touch within your memory cafe circle? For this you might need two Facebook pages – an open one and a closed one which works by invitation only.

Again, find a volunteer who can manage it.


Twitter is very immediate. It will also take up quite a bit of time staying up to date with it – making regular tweets and connecting with people to build up a following. But if you are running a larger memory cafe or are part of a wider organisation it can be invaluable for finding specialist volunteers, staying in touch with funders and supporters, and opening new opportunities.

In this next film we look at how the internet and social media are being used to raise awareness and connect people around memory cafes:

Memory cafes in the wider community

There is a debate within the world of those supporting people living with dementia about whether to set up services exclusively for people living with dementia, or whether they should be wider, with the aim of making the whole community dementia friendly.

Most would argue there is room for both approaches.

The ultimate aim is that people living with dementia should feel safe in their community – that they can visit any cafe and feel welcome, not just a memory cafe.

But people living with dementia and their carers can also benefit greatly from meeting others travelling the same journey as them. People suffering from many different conditions have set up peer support groups – which is one of the main functions of a memory cafe.

So how much do memory cafes need to become involved in the local community? Or should they just be a safe place for people living with dementia and their families to meet?


Most memory cafe websites have a page explaining what a memory cafe is. Why not embed our short film, ‘What is a Memory Cafe?’, in which guests and volunteers answer the question.

You can link to this film using the following URL:

You can also embed the film into your own website by using the features at the top right of the film.

Plus, you can download the film files here:
High definition | Standard definition | Smallest file size

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