Letchworth, Hitchin and Baldock dementia volunteers thanked with tea party

PUBLISHED: 13:55 21 July 2018 | UPDATED: 14:23 21 July 2018

Howard Cottage Housing Association scheme manager Sue Williams with volunteers at one of Letchworth's two Kingfisher Clubs. Picture: HCHA

Howard Cottage Housing Association scheme manager Sue Williams with volunteers at one of Letchworth's two Kingfisher Clubs. Picture: HCHA

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A Letchworth-based housing association has laid on a lavish tea party to thank 15 volunteers who support its work with dementia in the community.

Sue Hardy and Deb Leedham, who volunteer at the Tabor Court flexicare scheme in Letchworth. Picture: HCHASue Hardy and Deb Leedham, who volunteer at the Tabor Court flexicare scheme in Letchworth. Picture: HCHA

Howard Cottage Housing Association runs two Kingfisher Clubs in Letchworth and one each in Hitchin and Baldock.

The idea is to provide a safe space for people affected by memory loss, so relatives and carers can have a rest for a few hours without worrying about them.

Meg Lowe has volunteered at the Hitchin club since 2013, after being inspired by her late mother.

“My mother had Alzheimer’s,” she said.

Howard Cottage Housing Association supported housing manager Helen Cairns with Baldock Kingfisher Club volunteers David Spittles and Joan Stanton. Picture: HCHAHoward Cottage Housing Association supported housing manager Helen Cairns with Baldock Kingfisher Club volunteers David Spittles and Joan Stanton. Picture: HCHA

“She didn’t live round here, but when she attended a weekly club it gave my sister a few valuable hours of respite.

“When my mother died, I decided that I would volunteer at a club in my local area, because I know just how important it is for carers to be able to relax and have some ‘downtime’.”

The newest Kingfisher Club is at the Macfadyen Webb House sheltered scheme off Letchworth’s Norton Way North – near the housing association’s headquarters.

Sylvia Hills, who volunteers at the Macfadyen Webb House Kingfisher club, said: “I always say you can’t keep taking out of life; you’ve got to give back.

Howard Cottage Housing Association supported housing manager Helen Cairns with Meg Lowe, who has volunteered at Hitchin's Kingfisher Club in 2013. Picture: HCHAHoward Cottage Housing Association supported housing manager Helen Cairns with Meg Lowe, who has volunteered at Hitchin's Kingfisher Club in 2013. Picture: HCHA

“I love helping people. I love to see them smile and it does me good too.”

Anne Beckford, who volunteers alongside Sylvia, added: “Before I retired from the NHS I worked with people who had dementia and all kinds of health problems – so when I knew there was a volunteer job here, I was really interested in coming along to help.

“We do loads of activities, like quizzes, tombolas and singalongs. The members enjoy themselves and they particularly love the music. They have their lunch here as well, which is really nice.”

Howard Cottage’s Helen Cairns said: “I am immensely grateful to all the volunteers at our four Kingfisher Clubs for local people with low to moderate dementia and at our flexicare and sheltered schemes.

“It’s thanks to our volunteers’ invaluable support and boundless enthusiasm that we’re able to offer such a wide range of fun, stimulating activities to the local community.”

To find out more about the Kingfisher Clubs and how you can get involved, contact Helen on 01462 683307.

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