East Devon social enterprise helps to improve the health and wellbeing of older people


As seen in InYourArea

A social enterprise is providing resources and services that help to reduce isolation and improve the health and wellbeing of older people, particularly those living with dementia, which is now a priority in our communities across the UK.

Following years of practical research, Living Memories C.I.C., a not-for-profit organisation based in East Devon, is using archive film programmes and newsreels from the 20th Century from major UK film archive collections, to create award winning audio-visual reminiscence resources and services.

These audio-visual resources and services are now being used nationwide in many ways to help older people, including those living with dementia, to trigger memories and then chat about them with family, friends and neighbours.

MEMORY LANE: Home economist, food writer and broadcaster, Marguerite Patten

This is a great way for younger family members to learn what life was like when their parents and grandparents were growing up.

Brian Norris, 76, the founder of Living Memories, says:

“Almost every day we get feedback from people who are getting pleasure from watching our new Living Memories online interactive streaming platform.

“As a non-profit organisation Living Memories is keeping the monthly subscription as low as possible and we also offer a selection of free to view titles on the homepage.”

DAYS GONE BY: An advert for Cutex

Living Memories Online can be watched on laptops, tablets, mobile phones and other devices and by casting to smart TVs.

Each subscriber can add their favourite titles to their own collection on the platform, which they can then share via email with others.

The organisation is also creating and publishing an ongoing series of topic-based DVDs, each with a 30+ page Reminiscence Guide, which can be used one-to-one or with groups to run reminiscence sessions or just to stimulate chats about the difference between life today and in the mid-20th Century.

Brian said:

“Now that local residents are gradually getting together again we are encouraging the formation around the UK of our award-winning Tea & Memory community reminiscence groups. At these older people meet regularly to watch a several archive films and then chat over tea, coffee and biscuits about the memories which are triggered by the films. The social impact of the groups is proving to be very positive, and we are working closely with the NHS Social Prescribing Nurses, who refer patients to our Groups.”

TEA AND MEMORIES: Neighbourly advice at community reminiscence groups

International medical and academic research proves that reminiscence using still and moving images, music, dance and scents helps to improve health and wellbeing.

Noelle Ingham, an 84-year-old volunteer with Living Memories summed this up very well when she said: “Watching these archive films at our Tea & Memories Group makes me feel young again without anti-aging cream!”

For more information about Living Memories’ resources and about starting a Tea & Memories Reminiscence Group in your community, please contact Brian Norris on 01297 552358 / 079222 33363 or email 

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