The Alzheimer’s Society is looking for 30 volunteers from Swindon for their Side by Side service, which aims to combat loneliness among people with dementia.

The organisation's research shows a third of dementia patients have lost friends since their diagnosis. Moira Conroy, Alzheimer’s Society’s Side by Side Coordinator for Swindon, said: "Loneliness is a real problem for people with dementia, yet we know that one of the most important things for those affected is to remain part of their community and continue to do the things they love.”

The tailored service pairs people with dementia with volunteers who have similar interests, allowing both to continue enjoying the things they love.

“Side by Side volunteering is really being a friend to someone who shares a similar interest or hobby as you,” said Jane Wheeler, 64, from St Andrews Ridge, Swindon. She started volunteering after moving from Uxbridge with her husband, when they retired in 2017.

Having seen a Facebook advert, Mrs Wheeler contacted the Side by Side coordinator and was matched with Iris, 85, for their shared love of music. They attend the Alzheimer’s Society’s Singing for the Brain group at St Andrews Hall, Walcott.

Mrs Wheeler said: "We warm up our voices in the car, as well as having good laugh, on the way. I can honestly say it is the highlight of my week.”

“Jane cheers me up every time I see her. She definitely gives me a lot of confidence,” said Iris.