Passionate volunteer and fundraiser wins national award!
Sandra Brockley, 77, a former unpaid dementia carer and volunteer, has won a Great British Care Award for the support she provides for local people caring for someone with dementia.
Sandra volunteers for Rotherham Dementia Support Service and spends time each week chatting, playing games, dancing and singing with people living with dementia and their carers at dementia cafés across Rotherham.
Sandra cared for her husband, following his dementia diagnosis, until his death in 2017. She is the first to say that she could not have coped without the support of the four Rotherham dementia cafés. These cafes kept Sandra and her husband Charlie going and they only missed two in five years.
The cafes provide a positive and relaxing atmosphere and a chance for people like Sandra to interact with one another and share their experiences.
Without the love and support of the friends she made at the cafés, she admits that she could not have coped following Charlie’s death. Sandra wanted to give something back and became a volunteer. She says the cafes gave her a sense of purpose once her caring responsibilities were over.
As well as volunteering, Sandra has raised over £1m for a range of charities in Rotherham in the last 30 years and as a reward for her community work, she was awarded an MBE in 2006.
When asked how much she has raised so far, she says “I stopped counting at £750,000!”
Due to the Covid19 restrictions and the dementia cafes being paused, Sandra decided to set up a charity shop in Thurcroft to continue raising money for charities like Making Space and provide a space for older people who are isolated to pop in for a chat with Sandra.
Each day she welcomes customers living with dementia and their carers and makes them aware of the dementia support available in Rotherham.
Sandra has set herself a target of £50k to raise in her first year. This will ensure that the café music will be paid for over the next decade and there will be money left over for treats for carers and their loved ones at Christmas and other special events, or just when they need some financial assistance.
Cath Magee, Peripatetic Service Manager, nominated Sandra for the award. She said “Sandra’s purpose in life is to help people living with dementia and their Carers, to live well with dementia for a long as possible.
“Sandra is a special lady. She has a wonderful impact on everyone she meets and she has done a lot to raise dementia awareness in Rotherham. She makes everyone want to do more for people living with dementia and their carers.”
Sandra won the regional Unpaid Carer Award at the Great British Care Awards for the Yorkshire and Humber area at the National Railway Museum on 21st July 2021, a victory which qualified her for the national awards taking place at the ICC in Birmingham in September.
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 RotherhamCarers@makingspace.co.uk.
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