THE Alzheimer’s Society is looking for more volunteers in Redditch for its ‘Side by Side’ scheme, writes Tom Banner.
Side by Side was first piloted in 2014 and is active in 35 locations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Volunteers are paired up with adults with dementia to keep them active and reduce loneliness and isolation, while enabling them to remain in the community for as long as possible.
There are currently 40 volunteers across Worcestershire and demand is increasing with more than 8,000 people living with dementia in Worcestershire.
Janet Smith, Side by Side co-ordinator for Worcestershire, said: “Side by Side has been developed to empower people with dementia to live the lives they want and deserve, supporting them to keep doing the things they love, try something new and remain active in their community.
“Volunteers are vital to the success of the service. Without them, we could not offer this important service, and volunteers tell me they find the role extremely rewarding and enjoy what they do, so it’s a win-win.”
Volunteers for Side by Side are paired according to a common interest and can meet from once a week to once a month. Activities involve watching football, playing snooker, visiting garden centres or just chatting over a cup of tea.
A telephone service is also available allowing those with limited time to volunteer.
Jane Hewitt, a telephone volunteer, said: “It has been an absolute joy – and a surprise too – to witness the depth of the relationship that has developed between myself and the two ladies I have phoned weekly for the past 12 months.
“When I first undertook this volunteering role I assumed that I would be ‘doing all the giving’ but far from it, anything I give to the two ladies, I get back a hundred fold.”
For more information, contact Janet Smith on 01905 621 868 or 07885 228 890 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.