HISTORIC films are being used as part of a new project to help unlock memories for people with dementia.

Films from collections at the Yorkshire Film Archive are being used at the Penistone Memory Cafe, a dementia support group. It is the brainchild of Age UK, the Alzheimer's Society and Methodist Homes for the Aged.

The Memory Bank uses archives spanning six decades selected and edited along familiar themes, such as holidays, to connect the past to the present.

Carol Bower, a volunteer support worker for Penistone Memory Cafe, was asked to take part in the pilot along with group members.

"Over a period of a couple of months we showed film footage around a holiday theme with clips from the 1920s right through to the 1970s," she said.

"By watching the films, our members with dementia were able to unlock memories of themselves of holidays passed. It's never been done before and is a new method.

"What we noticed with it is that people would look at the images it would spark something off and they'd say 'Oh we always went to Blackpool every year' and go on to share their memories."

Carol, who has volunteered for the Alzheimer's Society for 12 years, said it was a huge leap for sufferers of dementia and age-related memory loss.

"I got buckets and spades out, old postcards from the seaside, kiss-me-quick hats and got the men to roll their trouser legs up. It was all about setting the scene and making them feel a part of it."

The memory cafe meets on the second Monday at St John's Community Centre, Church Street, from 11am.