Clitheroe charity needs volunteers to match with people living with dementia

Loneliness is a real problem for people with dementia.
Loneliness is a real problem for people with dementia.
Share this article

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

The UK’s leading dementia charity aims to reconnect people living with dementia with their communities and favourite pastimes.

Side by Side was designed in response to research by the Alzheimer’s Society that shows people 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.

Two thirds of people with dementia remain in their communities, but many feel trapped in their own homes – with almost one in 10 only leaving the house once a month.

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

Dorothy Parsons, Side by Side co-ordinator for the East Lancashire area, said; “Loneliness is a real problem for people 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 Side by Side service in Clitheroe, offering one-to-one support, is a vital step to making this a reality. Currently 850,000 people in the UK are living with the condition, so it’s 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 or would like to access the service should email: Kathryn.clay@alzheimers.org.uk or call 01282 447793.

Alzheimer’s Society relies on voluntary donations to continue its vital work and to make a donation call 0330 333 0804 or visit: alzheimers.org.uk