“Earlier this year, I stumbled across an advert requesting volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Society and Dementia. As somebody who had witnessed how Dementia could change people’s lives for the worse as my nan passed away after suffering from this illness, I felt it would be something I’d be keen to assist with. My life was in a pretty stable, happy place, and I felt at the stage I wanted to give something back to others.
Unfortunately, the Dementia Café’s I wished to volunteer at were only open on Friday’s, meaning due to work commitments I would not be available to regularly assist. Had it been on Sundays, I’d have looked to have got involved frequently.
However, thanks to the Benchmark Foundation which gives all staff an extra days leave per year if they contributed to the community- be that volunteering or charity work. As a result, I put in a request for Friday 21st March which was instantly approved, and I made my way to Askern, near Doncaster.
This was a truly rewarding experience. I spent from 11am until 3.30pm chatting with dementia and Alzheimer’s sufferers, preparing food for their lunches, making cups of tea and coffee, collecting money for the charity raffle, drawing raffle prizes, and generally providing some different company for them. I spent a good hour speaking to a Doncaster based gentlemen called Ted, who was there as some relief from his daily duties of caring for his wife. It was really eye opening to see it was not just the people with Dementia who were suffering, but the impact it was having on their families and loved ones too. Ted was open about how it had really changed his life, and the sacrifices he had had to make.
The day made me feel like everyone could make a difference however big or small, and that if time and commitments allowed, I would not hesitate to get involved with similar organisations more often.”