25th March 2024

This month we welcomed Jonathan Mansfield (pictured above on the left) as the new Head of Community Services at Alzheimer's Support. Here he shares more about his background, his insights and aspirations for making a positive difference to the lives of people living with dementia in Wiltshire. 

Tell us something about your early life and career history?

I grew up in Marlborough and came back to Wiltshire after several years away at university, work in London and then a short few years living in Brighton. My husband and I moved to Marlborough in 2001 and then to a small village in the Pewsey Vale in 2012, where we’ve properly put down roots. I would consider myself a ‘local’ but I know what it’s like in some Wiltshire villages!

My career has been varied, but predominantly in publishing and marketing. After university I worked for HMSO (the UK government’s official publisher), which led to 11 years at an academic publishing company in Marlborough. After a short period trying to make it as a full-time artist, I worked for The Pound Arts Centre in Corsham as the deputy director for Marketing and Operations. Five years later I’ve arrived at Alzheimer’s Support.   

Why did you want to work for our charity?

That’s a great question. From a career perspective, I looked at the job spec and thought, 'I could do that!, I’ve got that experience and skill'. From a personal perspective, for the last ten years I have been slowly moving away from working for corporates, and want to give my time and energy to a more rewarding, caring community and organisation. Although, I have no personal experience of dementia, I knew that my empathy and caring nature would be put to good use at Alzheimer’s Support.

So far, what have you found most rewarding about your job?

The people are amazing. Everyone I have met, from staff to volunteers, carers and service users have all been kind, compassionate, passionate, incredibly patient and just ‘the best’. 

Is there anything unexpected you have learned since taking on the role?

Everything I've learned about dementia is new to me. It's both fascinating but can be worrying and upsetting at the same time. I totally understand why the services we provide are so essential to people living with dementia and their cares and loved ones. I'm already so proud of the work Alzheimer's Support does.

What one thing do you wish more people knew about working with people living with dementia?

From my very limited experience so far, I can only say that people living with dementia are extremely varied, just like people living without dementia! Don't underestimate a person and try as much as possible to include them in your conversation.

Can you tell us about any special memories that stand out for you - special people, moments or achievements?

Blimey, that's a tough one. I have too many to list on here, but the one that springs to mind instantly is the smell of my son's hair when I first met him (he is adopted and he was 3 years old when we first met). It was love at first sight (smell) for me.

What advice would you give a new member of staff?

Ask for an organisational chart with everyone's name on it and tick them off when you've met them. Wear comfy shoes, do not go on a diet at any time - and enjoy yourself!