Bield day care centre celebrates biggest Christmas yet

A day care centre in East Dunbartonshire ensured that people living with dementia didn’t miss out on the Christmas festivities over December, as it hosted its biggest dinner party to date.

Staff at Oakburn Park Day Care in Milngavie, run by housing and care provider Bield, established a restaurant concept named ‘Wee Betty’s Bistro’. Just in time for Christmas it served up a full festive roast complete with all the trimmings.

Wee Betty’s Bistro is always a hit with its diners but, this Christmas, it was quickly fully-booked. Not wanting anyone to be left out of the occasion, staff arranged for more seating to be put in place and catered to more than double their usual amount of diners.

Donna McCallum, manager at Oakburn Park, said: “Setting up the restaurant and cooking and serving such a large Christmas dinner was certainly a challenge, but everyone was working away like Santa’s little elves to perfect every little detail and the dinner was a great success.

“Everyone who attended had an excellent time – we received such a positive response.

“The relaxed setting has been designed specifically to enable those who live with a form of memory impairment to be able to enjoy a dining out experience and let their friends and family enjoy the occasion too, knowing they have our support on hand to make sure everything runs smoothly.

“There was such a lovely festive feel to the evening - it was just so fulfilling to see our service users get in the Christmas spirit and enjoy themselves.”

The bistro was launched three years ago. It’s a simple concept that enables those living with dementia, to enjoy a meal with friends and family in a safe and worry-free setting. Twice a month ‘Wee Betty’s Bistro’ sees the development’s lounge area transformed into a restaurant setting.

For the Christmas dinner staff cooked up Scotch broth and a choice between traditional turkey or roast beef for the main. A choice of deserts was on offer, too, which was followed by a cheese course. Then as everyone digested the festive feast, warm drinks were enjoyed in the cosy sitting room.

Dinner parties at Wee Betty’s Bistro are free for all who attend and, to ensure that the dinners are accessible to everyone, the care provider offers a taxi service to and from Oakburn Park.

The innovative idea is named after Elizabeth MacKenzie, a popular service user who attended Oakburn Park from the day it first opened, until she sadly passed away just before her 102nd birthday. To staff she was known as ‘Wee Betty’ and the bistro’s name was chosen in honour of her memory.

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