Richmondshire volunteers wanted to pair up with dementia sufferers

Alzheimer’s Society’s Side by Side service in Richmondshire is looking for volunteers to pair up with people affected by dementia who share a common interest, love or hobby.

Side by Side was designed in response to Alzheimer’s Society research that shows people living with dementia are more at risk of loneliness than the general population- with a third of people reporting to have lost friends since their diagnosis.

Side by Side uses a new approach to volunteering by matching people through their shared interests.

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It has proved so popular with people living with dementia that the charity is urgently calling on more volunteers to be paired up.

From joining a local club, going to the football, or just going for a stroll in the park, this innovative service pairs people with dementia and volunteers with shared interests. The top activities people with dementia want to do with a volunteer include:

  • Walks to beaches and nature spots
  • Visiting places of interest such as museums and art galleries
  • Trips to garden centres
  • Spending time chatting with someone over a cup of tea.

Fiona Baker, Side by Side coordinator for Hambleton and Richmondshire, said: ‘Isolation and loneliness can be a huge problem for people living with dementia, yet we know that one of the most important things for those affected is to remain part of their community and continue to do the things they love- from going shopping to enjoying a local football match.

“Our new Side by Side service in Hambleton and Richmondshire is crucial to support people with dementia to feel a part of their communities.

“By 2021, it is estimated that there will be a million people living with the condition, so it is vital that we all unite against dementia and do what we can to make a meaningful difference, such as becoming a volunteer.”

Current Side by Side volunteers have reported that they have gained and shared skills, developed new friendships and even enhanced their CV as a result of participating in the service.

Side by Side is designed to be flexible so that anyone can sign up.

Anyone interested in becoming a Side by Side volunteer in Hambleton and Richmondshire should call or email Fiona Baker for more information at fiona.baker@alzheimers.org.uk or by calling 01748 825817.