During Dementia Awareness Week, (14-20 May) Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust is calling for volunteers to work alongside staff at its state of art, award winning dementia unit.

Let’s unite, the theme for Dementia Awareness week, encourages people to come together to raise awareness and offer help and understanding of dementia. During the week the Care Trust is asking people to register their interest to volunteer at the Dementia Assessment Unit and help make patients stay as comfortable as possible by taking part and supporting patients with a range of activities.

Jacquie Edwards, Dementia Assessment Unit Ward Manager, said: “We support people who are very unwell with their dementia and have complex care needs. It can be a scary time for patients coming to unfamiliar surroundings and patients often need one-to-one support with activities and lots of encouragement. Supported by staff, volunteers will work directly with families and patients affected by dementia to provide meaningful and engaging activities.”

Activities include chatting and reading with patients, involving people in craft activities, gardening, dancing, quizzes, singing and reminiscence groups.

Catherine Jowitt, Volunteer Lead at the Care Trust, said: “We are looking for volunteers who are people orientated and can give a few hours a week of their time for this rewarding role, people are often surprised at how much they receive back when they volunteer. All volunteers will be trained how to support dementia patients so that they feel confident and gain an understanding of dementia.”

The Trust already has over 50 volunteers supporting staff across a range of community and hospital services. They help with a range of activities including hosting coffee mornings, research and development projects, patient feedback and walks.

Twelve months ago Pat Rhodes, aged 77 from Bradford, started volunteering at the Trust’s Carers’ Hub for two hours each week. She supports activities at the hub, helps carers to find information to support them in their caring role and offers a listening ear. Pat said; “I started volunteering after my husband passed away. We’d been together since we were 16.  I went from being a full-time carer of my husband and busy all the time, to nothing. I wanted to do something for me and also to give something back.  I’ve met new people, learnt new skills and really enjoy coming each week. I feel part of the team and it makes me happy that I’m supporting and helping others. I’d encourage people to volunteer, it’s very rewarding.”

Interested volunteers will be invited to an information session mid-June. This will give people an opportunity to meet staff from the Dementia Assessment Unit and find out more about what the volunteer role will involve.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer at the Trust’s Dementia Assessment Unit please contact Clare Bancroft, Volunteer Coordination on 01274 322662 or email volunteer@bdct.nhs.uk before 5 June.



– ENDS –