TRAINING will begin this year for an army of 50 volunteers who will go into the Irish community across Britain and provide dementia friendly services and signposting.
The team of Cuimhne Champions will be trained by the Irish in Britain organisation and managed by the charity’s newly-appointed Volunteer Co-Ordinator Jenifer Maxwell, who has 20 years of experience working in the third sector.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to combine all my experience as Volunteer Co-ordinator with the new Cuimhne Champions initiative,” she told The Irish Post.
“I am looking forward to being part of a project which will enhance the way community organisations respond to people with memory loss and contribute to making the Irish community the first dementia friendly ethnic minority community.”
With the first of the 50 volunteers expected to be in place in the community from April, the health initiative, one of the key focuses of IIB’s ongoing Cuimhne - Memory Loss Alliance Strategy, plans to create dementia friendly spaces across Irish clubs, centres and charities in Britain.
Training of the volunteers, which is being supported by the successful £20,000 fundraising campaign launched by The Irish Post in 2013, will begin this month.
Charlotte Curran, IIB’s National Health Coordinator, explained: “We want thank everyone who supported our campaign to raise funds for this project and are delighted to now welcome Jennifer to the team as Volunteer Co-ordinator.
“Jennifer has over 20 years’ experience working in the voluntary sector, including working as an adviser in the Citizens Advice Bureau, an advocate for older people in hospitals and care homes and as a volunteer manager for Victim Support Scotland. Jennifer is also a qualified youth and community worker, but her interest and passion, stretching back to her first job as a teenager working for the public library in the housebound service, has always been working in support of vulnerable older people in local communities.”
Ms Maxwell is now hoping to recruit the men and women who wish to volunteer as Cuimhne Champions and be trained to go out into the community to offer support to Irish people experiencing all forms of memory loss - including age related memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s.
“I am now looking to recruit individuals, both male and female, who are retired or near retirement, who wish to come on board as a Cuimhne Champion,” Ms Maxwell, whose position is supported by the City Bridge Trust, explained.
Anyone interested in volunteering as a Cuimhne Champion should have experience in one or more of the following areas:
Public speaking and/or speaking in groups at events
Ability to interpret reports and research documents
Managing change in organisations
Working with volunteers
Working with vulnerable persons
Developing activities: arts, music, drama, reminiscence, oral history, social media projects, sports reminiscence and activities that address physical inactivity, such as dancing, sport, men’s sheds, knitting and cooking.
Partnership engagement and development
Professional or personal experience of working with dementia.
Positive, enabling attitude towards people with dementia
An understanding of the affect dementia can have both on the person living with dementia and their family and carers
Understanding the needs of the Irish community in England
For further information contact [email protected] or ring 0207 697 4081