Top UK Inspirational Women Award For Kate & Laura

Written by Memory Matters.

Top UK Inspirational Women Award For Kate & Laura

Joint directors of Memory Matters SW, Kate Smith and Laura Walker won the title ‘Social Business Leaders of the Year’ in the prestigious NatWest Women in Social Enterprise 100 awards, beating over 300 nominations across the UK and a shortlist of 100.

The sisters in law and former nurses received the accolade at a ceremony in London. A select panel of judges handed out awards to the UK’s most inspirational women in social enterprise in a total of seven categories to celebrate their outstanding achievements in trailblazing social businesses.

Kate and Laura set up Memory Matters in 2010 with a vision to change what they saw as a desperate lack of real support for people living with dementia and their families in the face of increasing demand. Almost three years ago, they opened a public ‘good food’ Café in Plymouth, supporting a dementia information hub upstairs, with all profits going towards the Hub’s work.

The enterprise is based in New George Street in the city centre, but has a reach throughout Devon and Cornwall and nationwide and a staff of 25 plus teams of volunteers. Kate Smith said, “Memory Matters is an umbrella organisation with many projects within it – our aim is always to listen to those that need support and be as reactive as we can to provide solutions in creative ways.

Kate Smith and Laura Walker

We have been running for nearly 10 years and it’s been quite the journey. To be nominated for the WISE 100 List was enough for us, but to be chosen from enterprises across the UK as Social Business Leaders of the Year is amazing, and a bit of a shock as there were some sensational nominees!” Judges assessed thousands of nominations – looking at passion, commitment and leadership. Kate and Laura were praised by the panel for the “huge impact” they are making to tackle the stigma that still surrounds dementia and to change perceptions. 

Judge, Mary Rose Gunn, CEO of The Fore said, “The Café is taking on huge international brands on the high street and winning. It is a fantastic example of how people can make a difference.” Kate Smith added, “Success can be measured in many different ways – our is by the happiness of the team we work with and by the people whose lives we can positively affect. The award has to be dedicated to the amazing teams and supporters we work with – we may drive the ship but they are the engine.”

Getting Good Life Balance Whilst Staying at Home

We have been asked if there is anything we can do to help you fill the days during isolation. Whilst some people are happy to just go with the flow and see what happens during the day, others are looking…

COVID-19 Volunteers – Successful Dementia Conversation Tips

The unprecedented situation we find ourselves in is meaning we are are all having to learn fast. If you are volunteering in your community delivering food shopping or helping out your neighbours you may be helping people living with dementia….

5 Things to help you keep Brain Fit while self-isolating

As many of us find ourselves stuck at home, we may find ourselves starting to feel that our brains are lacking the stimulation that we receive in our normal day-to-day life. In my six week course, I work with people…

Thriving With Cognitive Stimulation Therapy (CST)

“I notice a difference in him. He has lots to talk about after attending a Memory Matters Workshop. We have good conversations. He wasn’t talking much before” This was a recent comment from the wife of one of our Memory…

Useful Links for Those Affected by a Diagnosis of Dementia

I had the joy on Wednesday of taking part in a live webinar hosted by RBS for their staff entitled “Dealing with a Dementia Diagnosis” Max Pownell, Founder and Director from Carecalls CIC, and I chatted about the things…

Do something novel to keep your brain fit today!

Experiencing something new creates the ‘Novelty response’ in the brain. Our hippocampus jumps into action as soon as we engage with something novel. Our brains are activated by anything we haven’t experienced before as it is hard-wired to become alert….

Why do I forget names?

I have just come back from one of our lottery funded public talks ‘How to remember things better’ at Truro library. It was great fun and the room was full of friendly people who just want their memories to work…

10 Healthy Brain Habits you can do today…

1. Get up and go to be bed early. 2. Drink a whole glass of water as soon as you get up. 3. Write 3 things you are grateful for. 4. Do something that makes you sweat. 5. Wear clothes…

Five Successful Conversation Starters That Don’t Rely on Memory

Memory Difficulties are the most common symptom people living with dementia experience. Conversations generally rely on us remembering what has been said just a minute ago to keep the flow which can be tricky and our ‘small talk’ usually relies…

Are Mandalas Good For The Brain?

I wasn’t that long ago that I had become a little obsessed with mandalas. I even attempted to convince Kate (my co-director) that Memory Matters could have a little rebrand and become Mandala Matters instead, with a marvellous mandala logo….

Who’s Driving?

Another great Insight from Memory Matters Trainer Phillippa Hodge through having coffee with her friend who lives with dementia.

Repetitive Questions

Our trainer Phillippa Hodge explores dealing with repetitive questions…

My friend dementia. The story of a Memory Matters staff member.

I intended to be a maker of things. Working from a secluded studio, quiet with my materials and thoughts. I was studying a contemporary crafts BA at Plymouth College of Art, working predominately with clay. I love the cool, quiet…

Who’s Behaviour is Challenging Anyway?

Memory Matters’ Trainer Phillippa Hodge tells us about her experience with her friend John and how her willingness to learn how the world may look from his perspective helped those around him to communicate more effectively.

Volunteer Pam Warren gains recognition for all her hard work

This is Pam Warren. She is one of the Kindest and compassionate people we know and we are so lucky to have her on board as a volunteer. Pam works tirelessly, she bakes cakes every week and has done since Memory…