Meet Chella – New Regional Volunteer Support Officer for Wales

Hello, my name is Chella and I am the new Regional Volunteer Support Officer (RVSO) for Dementia Friends Wales. I am based in Cardiff in South Wales, but cover the whole of Wales.

I started in the role on 3rd March 2014 and attended Champions training last week in Southampton, run by RVSO Sara Miles. I thoroughly enjoyed the day and found the Information Session inspiring. I have actually already held my first Information Session as a champion as I couldn’t wait to get started turning my new understanding into action! This role as a volunteer Champion is definitely something I will continue with, as watching people being captivated, particularly during the bookcase analogy, and understanding the initiative felt fantastic.

I was nervous attending the Champions training and just as nervous as everyone else when it came to presenting my part of the information session, but without this chance to practice and seeing everyone else doing it, I don’t think I would have felt ready to hold my own session for a long time!

My previous job roles have been within the Third Sector, providing legal advice and advocacy to vulnerable people, providing training to outside agencies and managing volunteers within the advice sector. I was also a volunteer at a charity for women and children experiencing domestic violence for five years.

My interest in the role of Regional Volunteer Support Officer sparked after witnessing the difficulties people living with dementia can face when doing something such as attending a hospital appointment.

When I was in a hospital recently an older couple were in the outpatient’s waiting room about to leave, when the lady said to the gentleman, “Now, do you need the toilet before we go?” to which he replied “no”.

The lady continued “remember we will be in the car for over an hour when we leave so if you need to go you had better go now”.

The gentleman agreed and the lady ushered him right to the toilet door. I have to admit, that even with my background and knowledge, I watched on thinking she was a bit bossy.

About 5 minutes had passed and the lady was still stood next to the entrance to the toilets, now looking a little concerned. A few more minutes passed and the lady looked increasingly concerned. Eventually she approached the man sat next to me and asked him if he would check the toilets as her husband who has dementia had gone in some time ago and she was worried he was unable to find his way out. The man agreed, although looked a little startled.

When he came back out he said that her husband was in a cubicle. The lady then entered the toilets to assist her husband at which point the security guard approached her to ask her to leave the men’s toilets. She was able to explain the situation and finally help her husband who had indeed gotten confused and could not find his way out.

For me this highlighted the need for a more dementia friendly community, as had we all attended one of the Dementia Friends information sessions before hand, I’m sure the lady and the gentleman would have had the help and support they needed to make a necessary trip to the hospital less stressful.

I am excited about being part of such a fantastic social action movement and creating many dementia friends in Wales. I am currently looking at locations and venues around Wales to run Champions Training Sessions, so if you know anyone in Wales that is interested in becoming a Champion, please ask them to register as a Champion on our website and to keep a look out on the site for training in their area.

For those existing champions in Wales, please feel free to contact me at richella.borde@alzheimers.org.uk.

I have also started a Twitter feed @DFWalesRSO so please follow me if you are on Twitter.

I am looking forward to working with you all to make England and Wales more Dementia Friendly!

Chella Borde

Regional Volunteer Support Officer – Dementia Friends Wales

 

9 thoughts on “Meet Chella – New Regional Volunteer Support Officer for Wales

  1. anne brennan

    Why is this only applicable to England? I saw an advert for this website went on to apply for A Little Friendship Book to find because I live in Scotland I could apply. Also looked for sessions in Scotland but nothing. Why?

  2. Linda Hiatt

    I think this is a wonderful initiative. I started out cleaning for a family, who had a relative living with them diagnosed with Mixed Dementia. She has had this condition for the past 5 years. As I say I started out cleaning, making her a cup of tea and checking she ate her lunch. Gradually though I got more involved with her making her lunch, organising little activities we could do together, We would make pizzas, cakes. Getting her involved in the preparation. Sadly she is gradually getting worse now. Although she does love music. Especially the Irish Folk music. Plus Dean Martin and Doris Day. We very often have a sing song. She was a General Nurse and Midwife and became a District Midwife in the 1950’s – 60’s so I have read all the Call The Midwife books to her which she did enjoy. Have made a scrapbook with her family history. She came over from Ireland after growing up on a farm and we chat about her family. She does still have the wonderful sense of humour. Now I go and spend 2 full days with her a week, do a bit of cleaning still, organise her lunch and tea. If she is in a bad mood or a bit aggressive I can usually distract her and make her smile. My paternal Grandfather had Dementia when he was 59 back in the 1970’s he spent his time in Highcroft as there wasn’t the support there is today. So it is great that now we are making more people aware of this cruel disease.

  3. Alan Clarke

    I tried to register for the dementia friends book but it would seem it is only for England! do you think people in Wales do not suffer from this problem? I assume this to be true as my post code does not seem to be recognized my post code is CF465AR and is in Mid-Glamorgan all I want is a booklet as I worry I may be affected.

    1. Dementia Friends Post author

      Hi Alan,

      As the information packs are funded by Public Health England, people outside of England are unfortunately not eligible to receive the pack in the post.

      You can, however, still become a Dementia Friend by watching the video on our site http://www.dementiafriends.org.uk

      If you have any other concerns you can call the Alzheimer’s Society National Dementia Helpline 0300 222 1122 who can provide information, support, guidance and signposting to other appropriate organisations.

  4. Charlie

    Howdy! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a
    new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a extraordinary job!

  5. Lynette Bryant

    I would like some information on how to become a member of the befriend service for people living with dementia.
    I live in the Llandeilo area near to Carmarthen.
    Thank You
    Lynette

    1. Dementia Friends Post author

      Hi Lynette – thanks for your message.

      Dementia Friends is an awareness raising initiative, not a befriending service. It is about gaining an understanding of what dementia is and some of the small ways you can help in day-to-day life. In order to become a Dementia Friend, you can attend a face-to-face Information Session in your area. Search for one near you here: http://alzheimers.dementiafriends.org.uk/WEBSession

      If you are interested in other forms of volunteering, please see the Alzheimer’s Society website: http://alzheimers.org.uk/site/scripts/documents.php?categoryID=200123

      Kind regards,

      Lucien

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