More than 300 volunteers give their time to Quarriers every year. From befriending to office support, every role they undertake is invaluable in supporting our work and making a difference to the lives of the people we support.
Quarriers Dementia Befriending Service in North Ayrshire is supported with funding from the Life Changes Trust which is funded by the Big Lottery Fund. The service works with befrienders to provide companionship for people living with dementia, helping them to maintain their independence and stay as mentally and physically active as possible.
The service carefully matches befrienders with someone who shares similar interests to ensure a strong bond is formed. Befriender Norah was matched with 89-year-old Rena from Saltcoats, and they meet up every week for coffee, a walk or a spot of window-shopping along the local high street. Meeting regularly is crucial as maintaining a consistent routine helps people with dementia manage the day-to-day aspects of their condition.
“When I met Rena it was meant to be a brief introduction, but we just ran with it as we hit it off instantly,” says Norah. “Rena enjoys the company and she definitely enjoys the change of scene. She’s very sociable and likes to meet people. I get as much out of being a befriender to Rena, if not more, than Rena gets out of it.”
Dementia also affects the lives of friends and family who are concerned for the wellbeing of their loved one, and this can be hard to juggle with the everyday realities of work and life.
“I used to care for my mum and I know the difference it made to me when my sister or
friend would come over to watch my mum and let me go out,” says Norah. “It gives Rena’s son a bit of breathing space knowing that his mum’s safe, she’s doing something she likes and she’s with someone who’s going to look after her. It sounds corny, but you feel like you’re giving something back.”
“The best thing about volunteering is when I see Rena smiling and laughing.”