Volunteer Dementia Friends Champion Sam Bradley tells us why she became a Champion:
‘Back when the Dementia Friends initiative first started, a member of the team delivered an Information Session in our office. At first I thought this would be ‘just another information talk’ but at least it would be an hour away from my desk.
‘How wrong was I! It was one of the best and most informative talks I have ever attended, I learnt what it might be like to live with dementia and more importantly, that there is more to the person than the dementia. In fact, it inspired me so much that I decided to volunteer as a Dementia Friends Champion, so that I could deliver the Information Sessions. For someone who has always been petrified of public speaking, it must be something I believe passionately about!
‘Although it was a little scary at first, (and I still get nervous butterflies before each Session, as I want them to be delivered well) but the more I do, the more relaxed I feel. My first Sessions I practiced on family and friends, and the Sessions notes are a really good aid to them running smoothly.
‘One of my first Sessions was at my daughter’s primary school, which was fantastic! The whole of the junior school are now Dementia Friends and they were really engaged and asked lots of questions! The children were very proud to wear their badges and come up with lots of actions.
‘I’ve now delivered Sessions in banks, and libraries, mainly by pestering family and friends to allow me to go into their workplace!
‘I think my favourite Sessions have to be the ones I delivered for staff and residents relatives in a local care home. These were held once a week for 11 weeks, small groups, so not to affect the running of the care home. This enabled all staff, including managers, care staff, admin and cooks to all become Dementia Friends. The feedback was great from them and I will definitely be writing to more care homes to offer these groups Session.
‘To date I have made over 300 Dementia Friends, with more Sessions booked in, and I can honestly say I love being a Dementia Friends Champion. I always get such good feedback from people who attend the Session, and it feels great to make a difference for people living with dementia.’
Interested in becoming a Champion? Visit dementiafriends.org.uk