On the 11th February the High Sheriff of West Sussex, Caroline Nicholls DL, attended a thank you lunch and commended the volunteers for their amazing dedication.
She spoke of the first time she visited Sage House before it was completed, as an empty shell with a vision of providing complete dementia care under one roof.
“The vision is now achieved; it is bright, welcoming and it was an honour to be at the official opening back in May 2018. It is a facility I wish was around when my mother had dementia. We were complete novices all those years ago and somewhere like Sage House would have been perfect for us to get help and advice.
The work of the volunteers is what makes charities like Dementia Support special; it is what makes West Sussex special. It engages our community and you should all be very proud.”
Charity Chairman and Founder, Anthony Wickins, also thanked the volunteers for their contributions and support for the charity. As well as a team of staff, Dementia Support have 55 volunteers who support the dementia activities, café, office administration, fundraising, befriending, and information and advice service.
Sylvia Worden has been involved with the charity since its early stages. She spoke about how it has also been a support for her to volunteer following the death of her husband, who had dementia.
“It has been a tremendous help to me since Bill died last year. Sage House is a very positive place; we are like a family. I support people through the befriending ‘chatter tables’. People need to be able to talk about dementia and know that we can live well with dementia.”
Another volunteer, Angela Natoli, whose husband lives with dementia and is in a nursing home, helps in the Sage House Café: “I see carers and families come in with the weight of the world on their shoulders; I know how they feel and I volunteer so I can give something back, even if it is just getting them a coffee and providing a friendly ear in the café. Sage House is a happy place and it shows that dementia doesn’t always need to be doom and gloom.”
The High Sheriff also met two art students from the University of Chichester – Chloe Davies and Nafisa Dewan, who are at Sage House on a work placement as part of their degree. They run art sessions working towards a project for a group living with dementia and their carers; this is the third art placement with the university and the cross over of generations is a huge success.