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A group of volunteers at Meadowside in the garden

Volunteers at Meadowside care home in North Finchley enjoyed a celebratory afternoon of tea and cake with chief executive of the The Fremantle Trust, Steve Flanagan, who recognised the valuable contribution they make to day-to-day life at the local charity and care provider.

The Barnet-based care home, which provides high quality, specialist support for older people and those living with dementia, has 12 volunteers within its team, including Amanda Diaz, who has worked at Meadowside since it opened 20 years ago.

Service manager, Rachel Sohorye, is passionate about encouraging volunteers to be part of the wider team at Meadowside. She has worked hard to develop relationships with organisations like The Royal Mencap Society in the local area, who support three volunteers at Meadowside gaining valuable work and social experience.

The afternoon tea was an opportunity to thank the volunteers who are passionate about serving their local community and providing care and support to the home’s residents in a plethora of ways; from running reading groups and chatting with residents to providing support for the care home’s full programme of activities.

Mary Rowland, whose mother is a resident at Meadowside, is also a volunteer and runs a weekly reading and poetry group. Mary involves as many residents as she can with the group, which includes music and reminiscence work that is particularly beneficial for those living with dementia.

Rachel Sohorye said:

Our volunteer appreciation event was fantastic and an opportunity to show how much we value the contribution made by each individual. Helping an older person who is no longer fully independent is an incredible thing to do and brings communities together. Residents living with dementia can also experience ‘butterfly moments’ by interacting with volunteers – while the memory may be fleeting, the associated feeling will always remain. That is a very special thing.

Jonathan Scott-Laws, employment co-ordinator at Royal Mencap, added:

We have a great relationship with the team at Meadowside and our volunteers find the work they do extremely rewarding.  People become volunteers for a number of reasons, but often it is an integral part of their personal wellbeing. We believe volunteers in the care sector are an extremely valuable resource and an investment in time well worth making.