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Volunteer Article Competition 2023 - Janet's Story

After retiring and settling into a new routine, I wanted to do something one day a week as a volunteer. My Dad had suffered from Alzheimer’s in the 1990’s, and at that time there was very little support for him or my Mum so I wanted to help at a Dementia group if I could. If you’ve had experience of someone suffering from this horrible disease it stays with you and pulls on your heartstrings.

I originally started by volunteering at Age Exchange, but when covid started the meetings stopped and never re started.

A friend was already involved with TDS, so I mentioned if she knew of any opening’s I would be happy to help out. After only about 2 weeks she forwarded the monthly newsletter which included the volunteer application form, and shortly after I became involved in the weekly group that was nearly 2 years ago now.

We have a lovely group of members and it’s growing all the time, our new venue means we have a lot more space. As well as doing painting and crafts at the tables we are now able to also do indoor games of which Curling is a firm favourite and causes a lot of rivalry. It’s great seeing them joining in and are keen to be on the winning team!!!

Each Friday starts with a cuppa, biscuits and a chat. Explaining what we will be doing that week and if anything special had happened since our last meeting. We have a added bonus of a small park just round the corner, so on a nice day those that are able can have a walk. Some weeks we do chair exercises and recently we had someone in for about a month to show them Tai Chi, this went down really well, even to the extent that some of the members did the exercises at home afterwards. The week finishes with another cuppa and usually a quiz before they make their way home.

The members look forward to the occasional outing, and our visit to RHS Bridgwater which included a picnic and an ice cream later went down really well, and earlier in the year our Bridgewater Hall visit was enjoyed by all who went, as well as regular visits to Heaton Park.

Personally, as a volunteer I get as much out of the weekly get togethers as the members, gaining confidence in what I do, and generally having a nice couple of hours with people who are a joy to spend time with.

If anyone is wondering whether to become a volunteer, I would definitely say ‘give it a go’. It’s a wonderful experience, by giving a couple of hours of your time means that members have somewhere to go, meet friends and be occupied with activities. It also means their carers get a well deserved break, where they can have a few hours to themselves or enjoy a cuppa with friends. You definitely won’t regret the decision to become a volunteer.

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