A Jurat, who dedicated 20 years of her life to helping islanders with dementia, is urging islanders to consider lending a helping hand to others.
Kim Averty, who is a firm believer that volunteers get as much as they give, left Jersey Alzheimer's Association (JAA) in June 2019, after two decades of voluntary service and many different roles, to take up a seat in court as a Jurat.
The charity recently presented her with the Mike Tomkinson Award, which is given to a group or individual who has made “an outstanding contribution to helping those with dementia and their families in the island".
Pictured: The Mike Tomkinson Awward is presented in memory of the founding Chairman of JAA every year.
The award is presented every year in memory of Mike Tomkinson by Annette, his widow.
Mr Tomkinson was the Founding Chairman of JAA and, as current Chairman Chris Renouf said, “did so much to heighten awareness of dementia in our community and fought hard to improve the services offered to people living with dementia and their families.”
Past recipients of the Mike Tomkinson Award have included Tim Hill, Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice Development Inpatients at the Hospital; employees of the charity such as Bev Woolley and Fay Baudin, volunteers like Trixie Moulin, the students of the Alternative Curriculum who produced artwork to brighten the dementia units at Clinique Pinel and Brian Wilson, the former Manager of Rosewood House at St. Saviour’s Hospital.
Presenting Mrs Averty, Mr Renouf said she was “thoroughly deserving” of the award, having “devoted 20 years to helping people with dementia”.
Pictured: Mrs Averty joined the then Jersey branch of Alzheimer’s Society as a committee member in 1999.
An accountant by profession, Mrs Averty gave up work in 1998. The following year she became involved with what was then the Jersey branch of Alzheimer’s Society as a committee member. In 2002, she was elected secretary, a role she kept until 2010 when the charity broke away from the Alzheimer’s Society UK to set up their own branch.
Working with Mr Tomkinson, Mrs Averty was “instrumental” in setting up Jersey Alzheimer’s Association.
“This lady has been Secretary, Treasurer and Chairman of JAA as well as generally being bookkeeper, an administrator dealing with various admin tasks, organising events and has also volunteered for JAA,” Mr Renouf said. “All this was done on a Voluntary basis and always with good humour.”
The JAA Chairman said Mrs Averty had also been instrumental in expanding activities for people living with dementia with the introduction of a daycare service on Saturdays, musical memories, friendship group, education and training as well as counselling.
Pictured: "You name a role, I've done it," Mrs Averty reflects of her time with JAA.
“She has been the driving force behind JAA for the last 10 years and by expanding services in the way we have we have seen an incredible 235% increase in demand for those services over the last 7 years,” he added.
Mrs Averty was presented with the Mike Tomkinson Award just a few months after leaving the charity to take up a new voluntary role as a Jurat.
Reflecting on her time at the charity, Mrs Averty said: “You name a role, I’ve done it.”
“We were really lucky that we had the support of public [when we started our own branch],” she added. “We started with nothing. We got some seed funding and were lucky that the public supported us. Since then the charity has been growing and growing.”
Pictured: Mrs Averty was elected Jurat in February.
While she admits leaving the charity was a “really difficult decision”, Mrs Averty said it was the right time. “There is a great team in place,” she said. “I wanted to commit to being a Jurat and my duties, as you should do.
“I was really sad to leave but [the charity] is in safe hands. They are doing brilliant work. The Parish Pursuit has been a great success. I have always said, if one person gets the benefit, it is worth it. It’s about people being aware that we are there and that they can come to us for support.”
Mrs Averty was “really surprised” to be presented the Mike Tomkinson Award.
“I knew they were going to thank me for the work I have done but I had not thought about the award,” she confessed. “It was a lovely surprise, I was really touched.”
Pictured: JAA has been going around the island's 12 parishes to raise awareness, reach out into the community and enhance the lives of those affected by dementia.
The Jersey Alzheimer’s Association is not the only charity Mrs Averty has been involved in since she moved to Jersey.
She helped at Mont a l’Abbé school for many years, was chairman of Jersey Cheshire Homes. She has also been sitting on the Mental Health Review Tribunal since 2014.
“[Volunteering] is something I have done all my life, since I was a teenager,” she explained. “I fell into it.”
“It got an awful lot out of it,” she added about her experience at JAA. “People forget that volunteering is a two-way street. Helping people who need help makes you feel like you are doing something positive. It’s really rewarding."
Pictured: "Volunteering is a two-way street," Mrs Averty said.
She continued: “If you want to volunteer for Jersey Alzheimer’s Association, there are so many things you can do to help, you can fundraise, you can come and make up tea at friendship groups carers group.
"There is room for everyone.”
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