Award-winning volunteer Anne goes smiles above and beyond!

Anne Martin was presented with her trophy by actor and comedian Steve Ward at a gala dinnerAnne Martin was presented with her trophy by actor and comedian Steve Ward at a gala dinner
Anne Martin was presented with her trophy by actor and comedian Steve Ward at a gala dinner
A VOLUNTEER in her seventies dedicated to her work at dementia cafes has won a major industry award – after judges praised people like her as the ones who “make social care great.”

Anne Martin from Bramley was named Unpaid Carer of the Year at the Yorkshire and Humber Great British Care Awards for her commitment to the Rotherham Dementia Support Service, which is operated by national health and social care charity Making Space.

The service offers dementia cafes in Maltby, Thurcroft, Wath, and Dalton for people living with dementia and their carers to socialise and receive support and advice.

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Anne (72) was presented with her trophy by actor and comedian Steve Ward at a gala dinner at The Armouries in Leeds, and will now go forward to the national GBCA finals.

She was nominated for the award by Rotherham Dementia Support Service manager Amanda Tomlinson, who was also at the GBCA ceremony as a finalist in the Dementia Carer category.

Amanda said: “The dementia cafes couldn’t function without volunteers, and Anne devotes so much time and has so much experience she genuinely changes lives at every session.

“She’ll do whatever she’s able to make life a little bit easier for someone else, and she does it all with a big smile on her face.”

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Award judges agreed, saying: “Anne is clearly very dedicated to her role.

“She goes above and beyond for those she supports without expecting anything in return.

“It’s people like Anne who make social care great.”

Anne said she was shocked to be nominated and didn’t expect to win.

She said: “My mother had dementia and she passed away around the same time I retired.

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“I had lots of spare time and wanted to do some charity work.

“I saw an advert for befriending people with dementia, so that’s how I got involved.

“I’m happy just to be in the background helping out at the dementia cafes.

“I went to the final with my husband and we were just there because we thought it would be a lovely night out.

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“I really didn’t expect them to call my name – it was a big shock.”

She is is now keen to use her success to raise awareness of the dementia support on offer in Rotherham and encourage others to volunteer.

“You don’t need any particular skills or experience, you just need to get on with people,” she said.

“We have activities like quizzes and puzzles, sometimes we just sit and talk.

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“Everyone who comes for the first time says how friendly and welcoming the cafes are.”

Nick Farmer, chief operating officer, Making Space, said: “We are very lucky to have such professional and caring volunteers and colleagues who strive to go above and beyond for all the people we support and help them to live happy, fulfilling and enriched lives.

“We would also like to congratulate Amanda for reaching the final, and the whole team behind our Rotherham dementia services who were also shortlisted in two categories.”