Attracting volunteers into the area of dementia care is seen as a challenge. The pathways that volunteers take, along with their experiences, are diverse but important to know when looking to attract more in to the area.
- Volunteers often chose settings and activities linking to their past experiences, hobbies, or personal relationships to someone living with dementia;
- A professional background in health and social care could be a key influence;
- Experience in other volunteering roles often provided pathways into dementia care;
- The dual focus of supporting the carer and the person living with dementia was a key attraction.
Points to Consider
- Organisations can attract volunteers by linking opportunities to relevant experiences and interests –the arts and history connections are popular;
- Consideration should be given to previous (work and family) experiences of dementia) and how these may influence decisions;
- Carers who have experienced bereavement, may need extra time before volunteering;
- More consideration should be given during the recruitment process to previous professional and personal experiences.
I’m a singing teacher, you see, so they did a drama workshop with students… And it was more just that they needed company of people their own age as well to be there, so they put us in there from school. So that was when I first did it, and I just loved it, and I made friends with the guys that were in there, and I enjoyed doing the musical productions. So that’s why I started volunteering. (Volunteer, Cumbria)
Best Practice Example
Our research indicates that hobbies and interests are ways to attract into dementia care. For example, Theatre by the Lake in Keswick supports volunteers through a variety of roles. The Theatre created volunteer training opportunities to work with those living with dementia.
Their work resulted in a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.