Sheffield Mutual Friendly Society, a long-term savings and investment provider based in Barnsley, asked their employees to nominate a charity to support in 2021, and BIADS received the most votes.

Campaign and Communications Specialist, Laura Browse said: “As is the case for many charities in the current climate, BIADS have had to massively reduce their fundraising activities and events. That is why we are delighted to be able to make them our charity of the year.”

BIADS will use the donation of £2,500 to set up a garden with raised beds for our members to look after.  In this setting we will grow flowers and plants to create a sensory garden with fragrant flowers, colourful displays and plants offering various ‘touch’ sensations.  We have also secured the use of an allotment where our members can get involved with growing fruit and vegetables.

Chief Officer, Linda Pattison said: “I can just imagine the pride of our members when they see the product of their work and how they will be enabled to feel a sense of achievement.  Many of our members (both people with dementia and their family carers) find it difficult to continue with gardening because of the usual aches and pains, so the raised beds at our centre and at an allotment would enable them to continue this much-loved hobby.”

BIADS recognises the importance of offering inspirational and meaningful activities to people with dementia and their carers. This new service will also benefit ex-carers who may now have the time to restart a hobby they have not been able to undertake due to their previous caring role.  Being able to offer this opportunity to our members will not only offer reminiscence work but will provide a sense of achievement, teamwork, pride and satisfaction when members can see the results of their efforts. With the support of staff and volunteers, we will give members choices over what is grown and what part of the project they wish to be involved in to ensure they feel empowered to make decisions.

Margaret Mason, Deputy Chief Officer at BIADS said: “We are all delighted with the fantastic news that we are Sheffield Mutual’s chosen charity for 2021. This will make a massive difference to the lives of our members who will be able to undertake a hobby they feel is worthwhile and from which they can see tangible results.  Our members tell us we are their ‘lifeline’ and often they ‘don’t know how they would cope without the help and support of BIADS’.  I know they will be grateful for this new activity which can only be provided thanks to the generosity of Sheffield Mutual, thank you.”