The annual awareness week celebrates the difference that can be made by members of the local community who are willing to give their time to help others.
Hendon-based Gaz Twist and his partner Sarah-Lou are both volunteers at Meadowside care home in North Finchley and feel passionate about supporting older people and those living with dementia.
Gaz has worked with leisure and lifestyle lead at the care home, Harinder Kalsy, to set up a ‘Gentleman’s Club’ which is an informal fortnightly gathering. Gaz sits and chats with residents and assists with a range of activities, such as playing board games, snooker and table football.
His partner Sarah-Lou is a fitness instructor who goes in every week to teach residents chair-based exercises to encourage strength, resistance and coordination.
Both Gaz and Sarah-Lou have a strong sense of social responsibility, which prompted them to volunteer at Meadowside – a care home that has maintained a solid network of volunteers from the local area.
This desire to invest in the local community is shared by volunteer, Regina Tabokaite, who supports residents at Dell Field Court care home in Finchley and enjoys taking time to chat and assist with activities. She feels that volunteering is mutually beneficial and gives her a ‘brilliant feeling’ of being able to put a smile on someone’s face.
Gaz said: “It’s a really rewarding thing to do and everyone benefits in some capacity. It’s important to share a sense of community and I learn a lot from talking to the residents. As someone with family experience of dementia I’m passionate about helping in any way I can and would encourage others to do the same.”
Rachel Sohorye, manager at Meadowside, added: “We are hugely grateful to volunteers like Gaz and Sarah who give their time so generously and bring so much energy and enthusiasm. It’s really lovely to see a couple volunteer and use their skills in such a positive way. They help to reinforce the sense of community that is so important to life here at Meadowside.”