Win for Rotherham unpaid carers!

January 2019

A group of 19 volunteers from Rotherham have been named the region's unpaid carers of the year.

The team, who are all aged over 70, have volunteered at a number of dementia carer support groups - called dementia cafes - for over a decade.

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Clocking up over a thousand hours of volunteering between them each year, the group has supported hundreds of people during their time as volunteers.

All have previously cared for loved ones with a dementia diagnosis and said they wanted to use their experience to help others.

Five of the volunteers, Sandra Brockley, 74, Alec Senior, 86, Roy Ashton, 90, Betty Parkin, 72, and Ann Martin, 67, attended the Great British Care Awards ceremony at York Railway Museum, where they were presented with the Unpaid Carer Award.

Sandra has raised over £1m for a range of charities in Rotherham in the last 30 years and was awarded her MBE in 2006 as a reward for her community work.

She said: "Dementia cafes are such a valuable form of support to people living with dementia and their carers. The friendships people make there are what get them through when their caring responsibilities come to an end.

"The cafes couldn't function without volunteers as we are the ones with the experience to be able to really understand what people are going through."

Cath Magee, area manager for adult health and social care charity Making Space nominated the team.

She said: "When Making Space took over the coordination of dementia carer support services in Rotherham earlier this year, we were amazed by the dedicated team that was volunteering at the dementia cafes.

"For over a decade they have given their time to talk, play games, to do a spot of dancing and singing and most importantly, to listen to carers and people living with dementia.

"They make a real difference to the lives of the people coming to the café. Without them, some carers would not have coped and would have given up on their caring role long ago.

"They are committed to helping to improve the resilience of carers coming to the cafes. They also offer a friendship network to carers who are bereaved following the loss of their cared for person. I don't think I have ever met more enthusiastic and hard working volunteers. I knew I had to nominate them for a care award and am not all all surprised that they have won."

Making Space runs monthly dementia cafes in Dalton, Wath-upon-Dearne, Thurcroft and Maltby. You can find out more by calling 01709 910889 or emailing

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