Head of Adventures
Good with people, practical, empathetic
How long have you been working at Dementia Adventure?
5 and ¾ years.
What does your job involve?
Day-to-day I’m talking to people who need our services, helping them find a break that will suit them, and making sure that our breaks meet their needs. I come up with new ‘adventures’ that we can run and activities that we can do on our breaks, and I’m getting involved in the accessible travel debate through presenting to organisations.
I’m also part of the Senior Leadership Team, so I’m looking at the wider strategy of Dementia Adventure and helping shape where the charity’s going in the future.
What’s your favourite part of the role?
Helping people to get the break they think is impossible or that they’ve given up on, and telling them that it’s possible and that we can do it. It changes people’s ability to cope and care, and it recognises that people living with dementia are still people with needs.
When I was a student nurse, I was working on a respiratory ward and there was a guy in a side room who had Parkinson’s. He was washed and cleaned and cared for, but the rest of the time he was just left in a chair, all on his own, no-one ever came to see him. Seeing that, I just thought, “This chap was once someone’s treasured baby, and we should recognise that he has value and importance.” I’ve always taken that all the way through all the jobs I’ve done. I was a nurse for 20-odd years, then I worked for The Prince’s Trust, with very vulnerable young people, and now I’m here. In all those things, it’s important to remember that everybody we work with has value and is loved. That’s my ethos.
Best part of working at Dementia Adventure?
The team, and feeling that in a small way you’re making a difference to people and enabling them to continue in what can be a really tricky situation.
What’s something you’ve done recently that you’re proud of?
Work-wise, we’ve been developing our break options to give people more choice. In my personal life, my recent trip to New Zealand with my husband was pretty fab – it was just him and I in a camper van for a month, and we tolerated one another’s company very well!
If you were going to swap roles with someone else on the Dementia Adventure team for a day, who would it be and why?
I’d swap with Kath, our Head of Fundraising and Communications. It would give me an insight on funding and what it involves.
What’s the most exciting Dementia Adventure holiday you’ve been on?
I led a North Yorkshire break with Jill, one of our Adventure Leader & Coordinators, where we got trapped in the North York Moors! On one of the days we were heading to a location 10 miles from where we were staying and there was a ford halfway, but when we got there it was too deep to drive over. Then some guys behind us said they knew another route, but we ended up at another ford that was also flooded, and the whole group just couldn’t stop laughing — everyone stayed in really good spirits. After that it was the funniest holiday ever, we spent most of the week crying with laughter. Luckily, the other activities we had planned went off without a hitch!
And finally – tea or coffee?