Community Rail Awards

Published: 02 February 2024

We're proud to say that Bat & Ball Station's Forget-me-not cafe volunteers are up for a Community Railway Bronze It's your Station award! It's create for our volunteers to be recognised for their hard work and giving up their own valuable time. 

Our Forget-me-not cafe is run by our volunteer and organised by the Heritage Engagement Officer at Sevenoaks Town Council. The Forget-me-not café has flourished into a stable monthly café with a group of regulars attending, evolving into something much stronger than we had imagined. Over the course of the months we had organised a series of talks by local historians assisted by Sevenoaks Town Council, such as the local Town Crier, Sevenoaks Fire brigade museum, Elizabethan Layer demonstration, and Pearly King & Queen. Each morning of the café, volunteers arrive to prepare the hall for attendees including bunting, teas and coffees, plates and napkins; The café’s cake and coffees are funded by local grants, the Bat & Ball Station Café, or on special occasions by a volunteer. During the sessions volunteers welcome the attendees whilst guiding them to tables, if they’d like to play a game of draughts, snakes & ladders, bingo volunteers join in (dementia friendly games). Throughout the session they’ll help prepare and serve refreshments. The most important part of the morning is making people feel welcome and generally enjoy a lovely morning providing companionship over a cuppa for people living with memory loss and dementia, their partners and carers.

Over the last year 2022-23 we’ve built a great network of regulars attending the café mornings. It’s frequently mentioned by the regular attendees that even though they might not be able to make it once month due to bad dementia days, they know that it will be running the next. It’s great to provide that stable support for those attending.

The café has also been able to explore history and heritage more with the attendees. For people with dementia, it takes their memory back to their younger years; this can lead them to reliving their years when they commuted by train with their parents or even remember steam trains running. Having the café at the station evokes distant memories, starting up conversations just from being in the station building.

Check out the awards list here Shortlist announced for 2024 Community Rail Awards - Community Rail Network