Development Officer - Northern Ireland
My role as Development Officer NI is to work with carers and former carers of people living with dementia. I provide them with the opportunity to connect with other carers and former carers and to gain support from other people who are in a similar situation to themselves. I provide the opportunity for carers voices to be heard and for them to feel included, listened to and valued for the important work that they do on a daily basis. I aim to empower carers to have an influence on affecting change in policy, practice and research impacting on their lives and the lives of their loved ones living with dementia.
My introduction to working with people with dementia was as a Student Social Worker working in a Care Home. I facilitated reminiscence therapy workshops with people with dementia and their carers and thoroughly enjoyed listening to all the old stories especially one man who told me of watching the Titanic sail out of Belfast Harbour, can you imagine that was a sight to behold. After studying I worked as a Social Worker in Child Protection until moving on to work in the Community and Charity Sector in the areas of Community Development, Conflict Management and Community Relations. I worked across the political divide in NI for over 15years before joining Alzheimer’s Society as Dementia Voice Lead for NI and going back to my roots of social care.
My interest in working within the world of dementia peaked after my Grandmother developed dementia and I took part in numerous fundraising activities for Alzheimer’s Society before joining them as a member of staff. I work for tide because I feel that the voice of carers can sometimes be forgotten about and I believe that without carers the network of support for people living with dementia would be greatly decreased. I believe in putting value on the work that carers do within our society and the fact that without them the needs of people living with dementia may not be met. I am passionate about empowering carers to drive forward the agenda for change on public perception of carers and former carers and to ensure that they are recognised, valued and supported.