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Alzheimer’s Society in Wales is looking for carers, former carers or people with dementia to support the charity as Research Network volunteers.

The call follows the G8 dementia summit last month when Alzheimer’s Society Chief Executive, Jeremy Hughes, pledged to spend at least £100 million on dementia research in the next decade

Research Network volunteers use their personal experiences of dementia to help Alzheimer’s Society make crucial decisions about dementia research, including setting research priorities and supporting ongoing research projects.

The Research Network team is made up of over 240 carers, former carers, and people with dementia. Their duties include prioritising and commenting on grant applications, sitting on grant selection panels and telling others about the results of research. The organisation is now looking for more Welsh people affected by dementia to join the network.

No specific skills or training are required to be a Research Network Volunteer; what matters is the personal experience of people dealing with dementia on a daily basis.

Matt Murray, Alzheimer’s Society’s Research Engagement Manager said: ‘People affected by dementia play a vital role in ensuring that our dementia research targets the most important areas. Our Research Network ensures that the research we fund is of the highest quality, and is relevant to people’s experience. This gives us the best possible chance of making significant improvements in the care of people with dementia, today and in the future.

‘Research Network volunteers are actively involved in the review and decision making process. They decide what research we will fund, help us set our research strategy and work closely with researchers. Many Research Network volunteers enjoy learning more about the ways in which our researchers are fighting the disease. They are also grateful that their experiences are being used in a way that stands to benefit so many people.’

Alzheimer’s Society is the only funding body that works with people with dementia and carers to select the best dementia research projects for funding.

Lindsay Adams-Riley who is a Research Network volunteer in South Wales, explains why she got involved. She said:
‘I have a family history of Alzheimer’s and other dementias so I wanted to be involved in any research that is taking place to find a cure. After seeing how dementia affects families I wanted to help focus research and medicine into finding a cure or a way to slow the progression down. I have found being part of the Network not only very interesting but also a positive experience as it’s not all doom and gloom. I would advise anyone with a history or any link to dementia to consider joining in whatever capacity they can as it’s a really worthwhile experience.’

For more information on becoming a Research Network volunteer please contact Matt Murray on 0207 423 3603 or matt.murray@alzheimers.org.uk