BY TOBY PORTER
A volunteer has been honoured for her work with helping people with dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society paid tribute to Mia Morris, of Battersea at a special event celebrating her outstanding contribution.
Mia, who works for Sound Minds as a Project Worker co-ordinating a ward visitor peer support programme, was one of 60 people at Windsor Castle’s Learning Centre to hear how vital its work is.
She was awarded an OBE January 2011 for her for services to the community of South London and black heritage. Mia has been volunteering at Alzheimer’s Society’s Clover Café in Tooting for eight years.
She also works with the Caribbean elders and will start archiving work in August with the London Metropolitan Archives Huntley project.
She said: “I work during the day with the mentally ill. I used to do reminiscence work with Age Exchange in Blackheath and wanted an opportunity to re-engage with elders.
“I love meeting people and having a chat, plus I get to make their teas and coffees just as they like them. “I found the event at Windsor Castle very inspiring and I met some new friends, the trip to Windsor was awesome.”
Linda O’Sullivan, Alzheimer’s Society head of London and south-east region, said: “As we celebrate turning 40, we recognise the selfless work of our volunteers – without them we wouldn’t have come this far.”
“Our 40th anniversary provides the ideal opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for their support so far as we recognise our achievements. We are incredibly grateful for the time and commitment given by Mia and the rest of our incredible volunteers.
“But we still have a long way to go before we realise our vision to live in a world without dementia. We can’t achieve this without your help. By giving your time, you can unite with us to make change happen.”
Morella Kayman said of her experience and the society’s aims: “Our key aims included awareness – there was so little known it was swept under the carpet and nobody liked to talk about it; fundraising, and mainly I suppose I wanted to be on the other end of the telephone so no-one would feel like I felt, it’s terribly important not to feel isolated.
People didn’t have the knowledge, they didn’t understand it at all and didn’t know how they could help him (Lawrence)… after a while the phone stopped ringing – because people didn’t know how to cope, so they just stopped making the effort so see us.
No-one should ever have to go through what I went through at that time. I made up my mind that I would try and raise the profile of Alzheimer’s and dementia. What developed is incredible. I’m very proud of the society as it is today.
I think that it has grown beyond all measure and I think that the new brand launch and new campaign last year to really put Alzheimer’s Society’s name out there are amazing.”
The event paid tribute to the charity’s volunteers based in London and the south-east of England.
The celebrations came ahead of volunteers week and Dementia Action Week. It coincided with the charity’s 40th anniversary and was attended by one of the founder volunteers Morella Kayman.
For more information on volunteering and current vacancies visit: https://www.alzheimers. org.uk/get-involved/volunteering