Day One...

Once a week, my Grandma visits her local Alzheimer’s Support day club in Devizes.

I’ve seen first-hand the massive impact it has had on both her and my Grandad. It is extremely important she meets people in a similar situation to hers and is able to be part of a community again. She always returns feeling happy, positive and motivated whilst my Grandad can spend the day relaxing.

I wanted to experience what happens in the centres and to ‘give something back’ after Alzheimer’s Support has helped my family so much. So one Wednesday in June, I gave up my time to volunteer in another of the charity’s day clubs – the Mill Street Club in Trowbridge.

I was nervous to start as I didn’t know what to expect; my Grandma’s behaviour can be unpredictable and occasionally slightly inappropriate. However, when I arrived I soon felt at ease as the club is in a relaxed and informal environment. I sat down and chatted to some of the members while they enjoyed tea, coffee and toast. After I was introduced to everyone, we played a game with a giant parachute, which involved placing a ball on top and keeping it there while the parachute was moving. The members loved the stimulation and excitement of the game. Although chair based, it involved real physical activity, something they may otherwise lack.

One of the men I was introduced to had played professional football in the Sixties and was given a book on the era to read. A volunteer found the book in a shop which mentioned him and everyone who was in his team at the time. He was so thrilled and spent most of the day looking through the book, reminiscing on his time at the club.

Lunch was delicious – ratatouille, sausages and mash created by the club’s volunteer Italian chef from food donated by supermarkets through the FareShare scheme.  As it was my first visit, I brought some Wiltshire Farm Foods chocolate eclairs with me which were eaten by members for afternoon tea and thoroughly enjoyed.

My first day volunteering at Alzheimer’s Support was extremely humbling and inspiring. It was clear both how much the members enjoy their time and how much the staff and volunteers do to make it a special experience for everyone. I’m looking forward to seeing the members again and helping out next week.



Becci Shorrt