Dementia Support’s volunteers were thanked for their work at a special recognition ceremony, attended by the Tangmere charity’s chairman and founder Anthony Wickins and CEO Sally Tabbner, as well as the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Caroline Nicholls.
On February 11, the volunteers were commended for their work and dedication at a thank you lunch.
The volunteers give their time and skills to support people living with dementia - as well as their carers - at Sage House, the charity’s purpose built facility.
As well as a team of staff, Dementia Support have 55 volunteers who support the dementia activities, café, office administration, fundraising, befriending, and information and advice service.
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At the lunch, Anthony Wickins thanked the volunteers for their contributions and support for the charity.
High Sheriff Caroline Nicholls spoke at the event, reflecting back on the first time she visited Sage House.
At this point, it was an empty shell with a vision of providing complete dementia care under one roof.
Caroline Nicholls said: “The vision is now achieved; it is bright, welcoming and it was an honour to be at the official opening back in May 2018.
“It is a facility I wish was around when my mother had dementia. We were complete novices all those years ago and somewhere like Sage House would have been perfect for us to get help and advice.
“The work of the volunteers is what makes charities like Dementia Support special; it is what makes West Sussex special. It engages our community and you should all be very proud.”
The High Sheriff also met two art students from the University of Chichester, Chloe Davies and Nafisa Dewan, who are at Sage House on a work placement.
They run art sessions working towards a project for a group living with dementia and their carers.
Sylvia Worden has been involved with the charity since its early stages.
She spoke about how it has also been a support for her to volunteer following the death of her husband, who had dementia.
She said: “It has been a tremendous help to me since Bill died last year. Sage House is a very positive place; we are like a family.
“I support people through the befriending ‘chatter tables’. People need to be able to talk about dementia and know that we can live well with dementia.”
Another volunteer, Angela Natoli, whose husband lives with dementia and is in a nursing home, helps in the Sage House Café.
Angela said: “I see carers and families come in with the weight of the world on their shoulders; I know how they feel and I volunteer so I can give something back, even if it is just getting them a coffee and providing a friendly ear in the café.
“Sage House is a happy place and it shows that dementia doesn’t always need to be doom and gloom.”