Dementia-friendly Islington

Young woman spending time with her elderly grandmother at home

Around 1,500 people in Islington live with dementia, which is caused by several diseases that affect the brain. Dementia may include symptoms of memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving and language. Islington is recognised by Alzheimer’s Society as a community working towards becoming dementia friendly.

In February 2023, Islington’s Ecology Centre at Gillespie Park was recognised as being a dementia-friendly venue. The centre works closely with Age UK Islington to deliver events aimed at improving the lives of people with dementia. We interviewed conservation manager Jo Corrall, to find out more about the difference it’s making for visitors.

You can also find out how Park Theatre is working hard to become an accessible and dementia-friendly venue over on the blog, as well as hear from Mikael at Better Leisure Centre, which is part of the Islington Dementia Friendly Network.

See what’s on at the Ecology Centre and other events for people with dementia and their carers:

Park cuppa

Every third Tuesday of the month, 10.30am–12noon
Islington Ecology Centre, Gillespie Park, 191 Drayton Park, N5 1PH

Join local people at the Ecology Centre for a cup of tea and a chat. There is a themed discussion every session. Free for everyone, just turn up!

For more information, email or call on 020 7527 4374

Cecelia’s Cafe

Every other Wednesday, 1.30–4.30pm
72–74 Hargrave Park Road, Archway, N19 5JN

Chat to people who have been affected by dementia in a friendly and relaxed social environment at the Cecelia’s dementia cafe.

If you would like more information about any of the services available, call 020 8121 5626 or 07484 089543, or email

Singing for the brain

Every Monday, 1–3pm
72–74 Hargrave Park Road, Archway, N19 5JN

Singing for the brain sessions are designed to promote wellbeing and build confidence in people living with memory problems.

For more information, contact Alzheimer’s Society Islington by calling 020 8121 5626 (9am-5pm, Monday to Friday) or email

Memory Cafe

Every Tuesday, 10.30–12.30pm
Christ Church Highbury, 155 Highbury Grove, N5 1SA

The Memory Cafe is run by a committee of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers, with its own constitution, whose aim is to offer free weekly hospitality to older people and their carers.

Find out more and see what’s on at Christ Church Highbury.

Better get together

Every Tuesday and Thursday, 10.30am–1pm
Sobell Leisure Centre, Hornsey Road, N7 7NY

Come along to Better get together sessions for people aged 60-plus and enjoy dominos, table tennis, short mat bowls, zumba basics and senior fitness circuits. A great way to stay active and meet other local people! Sessions cost £2.50 and booking can be made on the day, at reception. Run in partnership with Age UK Islington.

Better leisure centres also offer discounted gym membership for people aged 60-plus: the Better adult senior pay and play membership costs just £6.30 for the year and includes discounts on a number of activities, plus free swimming at off-peak times (8.30am-4pm Monday to Friday) at Archway Leisure Centre, Cally Pool and Gym, Ironmonger Row Baths and Highbury Leisure Centre.

Visit the Better website to see the full range of membership options available.

For more information, email Mikael Kiviniemi: Mikael.Kiviniemi@GLL.ORG

Health and nature walk

First Friday of every month, 10–11am
Gillespie Park, 191 Drayton Park, N5 1PH

Join this monthly walk in Gillespie Park, Islington’s smallest nature reserve, and watch the seasons change as you talk and chat. The walk is guided by Jo, who will speak about the wildlife and history of the park. The walk will last around 45 minutes, depending on the ability of attendees. There are several places to stop and sit throughout the park. The group will then return to the Ecology Centre for free tea, coffee and biscuits.

Book your free spot.

Park Theatre reminiscence classes

Every Monday, 10.30am–12.30pm
Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4 3JP

A free, weekly drama-based session for those living with dementia and their carers. The focus is on gentle, creative expression through a combination of art, tai chi, music and movement.

More information and book

Park Theatre accessible performances

Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4 3JL

Park Theatre provides a range of accessible performances each season. These include captioned, audio described, relaxed and dementia-friendly performances. Scripts and cast lists are available in large print on request.

Visit the Park Theatre website

Together in time singing group

Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4 3JL

A fun, friendly and free weekly singing class for those living with dementia and their carers.

Find out more and sign up

Become a dementia friend

A dementia friend is somebody who learns about dementia so that they can help their community. These actions do not have to be time consuming! From visiting someone you know with dementia to being more patient in the shop queue, every action counts.

If you are interested in becoming a dementia friend, watch this five-minute video or sign up to attend a free dementia friend session that explains how it works.

For more information about Dementia Friendly Islington, visit Islington Council’s One You website, which is kept up to date with what the council’s community partners are doing and upcoming events.

Safe Havens

Safe Havens are a practical way of helping everyone in Islington enjoy their community, knowing that support is easily available if they need it. Public places such as shops, cafes, pubs, libraries and other places of interest can register to be officially known as a Safe Haven. Keep an eye out for the Safe Havens stickers in windows.

The Safe Havens Scheme is delivered by Islington Council and supported by organisations within the borough. Visit the council website for more information and to register.

Support and resources

Alzheimer’s Society support: a wide range of information on dementia for families, people with dementia and carers., including a dementia support forum.

Dementia UK: information and a dementia helpline, plus support for carers, admiral nurses and volunteering opportunities.

Islington Carers Hub: information for carers on a range of topics, including dementia.

Public Health One You Islington: information and events available within the community, focusing on dementia.

For a list of dementia organisations and information, visit the Find Your Islington directory.


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