“Inspirational” Derby volunteer shortlisted for national award

November 2023 · min read

A Derby volunteer who helps out at groups for people living with dementia and their carers has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Liz Fairfield is a finalist in the Inspirational Volunteer category at the Women Achieving Greatness in Social Care (WAGS) awards. She’ll find out if she’s won the trophy at a gala awards dinner which is set to take place on 21 November at The Marriott Grosvenor Square in London.

Liz Fairfield

Liz became a volunteer at Derby City Dementia after supporting her friend through young onset dementia. When her friend passed away, Liz was keen to use her experience to help others.

“It's a lovely surprise to be shortlisted for this award,” said Liz. “Working with Making Space and the other volunteers is really rewarding. Through them, I've come across a lot more people with young onset dementia. I'd love to see their capabilities and unique needs better understood and provided for.”

Liz was nominated by Derby City Dementia service manager Wendy Burton. “Caring for someone with dementia isn’t easy, but rather than take a step back after losing her friend, Liz has immersed herself into supporting others,” said Wendy.

“Her perspective is incredibly valuable in helping to care for people with dementia, and her fundraising has raised over £8,000.”

One of Liz’s flagship projects is the Capability Garden in Markeaton Park – also known as the Rose Garden - which she helps to maintain along with her husband. The garden is open for everyone in Derby to enjoy, but people with dementia particularly enjoy creating their own little corner of nature. It’s also a living memory for their loved ones.

As well as raising financial contributions for the garden, Liz secured 600 bulbs and 40 roses from donors for people with dementia and their loved ones to plant.

Nick Farmer, our chief operating officer, said: “Volunteers add a huge amount of value to the care sector, and Liz is a shining example. Sharing first-hand experiences provides a great deal of insight both to the organisations who deliver the services, and the people who attend them looking for support.

“Liz takes this support even further with her fundraising activities, which help us to deliver more activities. Whether she takes home the trophy or not, she thoroughly deserves this nomination. We’re thrilled the judges have recognised Liz’s contribution and are rooting for her all the way. We wish all the finalists across our sector the best of luck on the night.”

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