Award win for Rotherham volunteers
A group of elderly volunteers have won a national award for the support they provide for local people caring for someone with dementia.
The 19 volunteers from Rotherham were named nationwide unpaid carers of the year at the Great British Care Awards, beating off competition from eight other regional finalists. They were presented with their award during a gala dinner attended by over 1,000 people at Birmingham's ICC.
Each year for the past decade, the Rotherham volunteers have clocked up thousands of hours between them at dementia carer support groups – known as dementia cafes. All have had experience of caring for a loved one with dementia themselves.
The volunteers spend time each week chatting, playing games, dancing and singing with the carers and the people with dementia they care for.
They were nominated by adult health and social care charity Making Space, which coordinates dementia carer support services in Rotherham.
Six of the volunteers, Sandra Brockley, 79, Alec Senior, 90, Roy Ashton, 89, Betty Parkin, 73, Dorothy Bolland, 75, and Maggie Smith, 79, attended the ceremony, along with Cath Magee and Steph Johansen from Making SpaceVolunteer Sandra has raised over £1m for a range of charities in Rotherham in the last 30 years and was awarded her MBE in 2006 as a reward for her community work.
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She said: "Dementia cafes provide an invaluable form of support to people living with dementia and their carers. The friendships people make there sustain them when their caring responsibilities come to an end.
"Dementia cafes simply couldn't function without volunteers as we bring our own experience of what people are going through.
"It feels fantastic that we have all received this recognition for what we do - and that we have helped to raise the profile of dementia cafes and of volunteering."