June Volunteer Update

From gardening socials to a new marketing volunteer joining the team, here are our latest volunteering updates

Volunteering with Alive

As part of National Volunteer’s Week, we celebrated our first volunteer social since the beginning of lockdown in 2020! Many of our Social and Therapeutic Horticulture volunteers came together at our dementia-friendly allotment in Brentry to share food, drink and stories and bask in the sun.

The social started off with a Social and Therapeutic Horticulture training session for those interested in learning more about the research behind salutogenic environments, the therapeutic benefits of gardening, and how to best support people living with dementia through nature-based activities. The volunteers had the chance to peruse some books on the topics, from Dr Qing’s groundbreaking work on shirin yoku (forest bathing) to Jamie Lerner’s innovative suggestions in Urban Acupuncture, in which he shows how interventions such as Alive’s dementia-friendly allotment can make cities more liveable. As the afternoon progressed, we were visited by the neighbour’s chicken, who kept everyone entertained.

With the easing of COVID-restrictions, many new volunteers have joined our team and help us make our Social and Therapeutic Horticulture sessions a success. With their skills and energy, they help us in engaging our participants in a meaningful and joyful way and support us in transforming our community gardening spaces. We are very grateful for having such lovely, talented individuals support our mission.

Further, we had our first three volunteers Eve, Steph and Peter join our Dementia Meeting Centre team in Clevedon. It was a great time for them to join as we celebrated the Queen’s jubilee! We are looking forward to many more happy sessions at our three Dementia Meeting Centres in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire.

Lastly, we welcome our new, fantastic marketing volunteer Isabella to the team. With her breadth of knowledge and many years of experience, she has already been such a big help to us.

Marketing Volunteer Isabella with her lovely dog Eddie
Who’s got the bigger smile?
Bruna and Volunteer Tanya at our Brentry allotment
Volunteer Chloe and Bruna at our Brentry allotment
David and Sam at our Brentry allotment

We thank everyone who is volunteering with us – together, we can make a real difference in older people’s lives. Nadja can be contacted on volunteer@aliveactivities.org for any volunteer-related queries.

BME Elders ‘Evergreens’ Group Celebrates Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

The Evergreens group paid homage to Her Majesty with a celebration fit for a Queen

With themed decorations, cakes decorated with pictures of the Queen and a huge smorgasbord of delicious food, the celebrations took place with grand pomp. Some of the members even went the extra mile by dressing in the colours of the flag and a ‘best dressed’ winner was announced.

To honour the Queen, the group’s lead, Joana, gave a speech thanking the Queen and all the members stood up to sing the National Anthem.

We would like to congratulate the Queen on her Platinum Jubilee!

Meeting Centre member describes sessions as “golden moment” of their week

Clevedon Dementia Meeting Centre attendees’ daughter shares heartwarming words of thanks

The daughter of two of our Meeting Centre attendees’ recently sent our North Somerset Meeting Centre Manager, Anne Ellis, some lovely words of thanks for the positive impact the sessions have made on her father John, who has dementia and his wife, who is his primary carer.

Mags, the daughter of Meeting Centre member John, pictured together above, has kindly allowed us to share the email she wrote Anne here:

Hello Anne,
I’ve been meaning to email you for a while. I wanted to say thank you for your dementia group in Clevedon at Christ church. The group has been fantastic for my dad who has a big smile on his face every time I pick him up. I didn’t expect what’s it’s done for my mum. She is dad’s main career. The group is her “golden” moment of the week. She’s able to talk to others in the same boat without the feeling of guilt that can be there when talking to non careers or family. She has the support of your team, who are so kind, supportive and fun. She knows dads happy there and safe, that she can also enjoy others company without having to be thinking of dads needs constantly.

The activities are fantastic. I picked dad up after a chocolate workshop and he informed me of what they’d been doing with his usual smile. But explained that he didn’t like chocolate. His lips hands and nose all had chocolate on them.

If there are ever ways that I can help, please let me know. This group is so important for my dad mum and us as a family.

Thank you so much for making it so special.

Warm wishes Mags, Carl and Molly

To find out more about how to join any of our meeting centres in North Somerset, Bristol or South Gloucestershire, please contact meetingcentres@aliveactivities.org for more information or call the office on 0117 377 4756.

Alive wins national awards and is nominated for Bristol award

We are so pleased to announce that on the 4th of March 2021, we won two national awards at the Markel 3rd Sector Care Awards held at The Grand Hotel in Birmingham. The awards, organised by Care Management Matters and developed in conjunction with the National Care Forum, celebrates the hard work, dedication, innovation and excellence of those working in the not-for-profit sector who are making a positive impact on the lives of those in care. We have shown ourselves as an example of one such organisation going above the fray to make a positive difference.

These milestone recognitions come on the back of the tremendously impactful work we have been doing since 2010 and in particular, over the pandemic. The “Dementia Care Award” celebrates services improving the lives of people living with dementia and their families. For this award, we chose to put forward our dementia-friendly allotment, Bristol’s first and only, set up in the early part of the first lockdown. The allotment has welcomed hundreds of older people, their carers and families, since lockdown restrictions eased, including those living with dementia in the community. This has enabled them to take part in supported gardening activities, meet new people, learn new skills, be active and socialise with others in the community and share gardening knowledge. The allotment has allowed participants to undertake gardening tasks supported by volunteers, and take pride in growing flowers, fruit and vegetables, whilst also having the opportunity to build new friendships and support networks, retain/regain a sense of personal identity and gain a sense of purpose. This is in line with our vision to help build a stronger community for older people with dementia in North Bristol.

Since the pandemic hit, we have worked tirelessly on developing our digital strategy to facilitate easier access for older people and those living with dementia, and their carers. One big move in this direction has been the development of a dementia-friendly video platform called Alive On Demand. The “Technology Award” is in recognition of these efforts, which resulted in the creation of this innovative technology. Alive On Demand is a video-streaming platform with over 200 unique videos and has, since its launch under six months ago, reached close to 1000 older people and carers. The platform was designed with activities staff, care staff, carers and loved ones in mind to help them better engage and spark conversation with older people and learn more about individual and group interests.

The awards were presented by Angela Rippon CBE, who remarked that the judges appreciated the innovative use of technology to engage older people with dementia and were impressed by the breadth of unique content available on Alive On Demand’s platform. On the presentation of the “Dementia Care” award for the allotment, she said that they “loves the way it is person-centred and listens to the opinions and needs of the attendees and that it reaches people of multiple cultures.” She also added that it was very important to celebrate carers and the work that charities do to support the care industry and for those in the industry to know that they aren’t forgotten.

Our CEO Isobel Jones said, “I’m incredibly proud of my team and am grateful for this recognition. The team have gone above and beyond to come up with truly innovative solutions that are responsive to peoples’ needs. As a small, independent charity, winning these two awards is a testament to the hard work and passion we share in improving the lives of older people. This will only empower us to achieve more and continue making a positive difference.”

We are also excited to announce that we have been nominated as a finalist in the Bristol Life Awards “Charity of The Year” category. We have been nominated alongside some fantastic local organisations who are all making an amazing difference in Bristol. Whether we win or not, we already feel like winners to have had this recognition at all. We’re looking forward to getting glammed up for the awards night on 18th May! Good luck to all finalists!