Side by Side Volunteer with the Alzheimer's Society
Summer joined the Side by Side program last year. Side by Side is an Alzheimer's Society scheme designed to combat social isolation and help people stay in touch with their local communities and hobbies. Following a brief training process, volunteers are paired with a person who has been diagnosed with dementia and who's hobbies and interests they share. In the case of Summer, her background in web development and interest in painting allowed her to support a lady from Plymouth in setting up her own website to promote her art from. The two also paint on occasions together. I asked Summer to sum-up how this year has gone and how her volunteering has helped with her degree:
Summer Ashbury, Side by Side Volunteer:
"I have been a side by side volunteer with the Alzheimer's society for nearly a year. I love the flexibility of the role as it fits well around my university studies whilst also giving me a rewarding opportunity to do something different. It's great to take a break from my normal routine and make a positive impact on someone's life. I feel that my time within this role has massively improved my active listening skills and ability to communicate, while also helping me to become more aware of Alzheimer's disease and its effects on individuals and their families. It's lovely to build up a relationship with the individual I am spending time with, creating memories and experiences which enhance their quality of life. There is so much support available should you need it, and I have really enjoyed the experience so far. You can really make a difference within this role, and it's been so rewarding! I would recommend it to anyone."
Samuel Griffiths, Side by Side Coordinator, Alzheimer's Society:
"It's been a pleasure having volunteers from Plymouth University. They approach volunteering with an eagerness that's simply contagious and are always willing to learn. Student volunteers are helping us work towards a world free from dementia and I can't thank them enough."
Find out how you could volunteer with the Alzheimer's Society here.