International Volunteer Day


By Katy McIntosh | Monday 05 December 2016

This International Volunteer Day, we want to introduce you to James Hems. He is one of our valuable Alzheimer’s Research UK volunteers, helping us in our mission to make breakthroughs possible. We couldn’t power all our fantastic research without generous individuals all over the country who dedicate time to volunteering.

We asked James a few questions about what it’s like to be a volunteer and why he does it.


“It makes me feel good knowing I am doing just a little something in the effort to make breakthroughs possible.” James Hems (left).

What kind of volunteering do you do?

I have been volunteering for Alzheimer’s Research UK since early 2015. I mostly help with bucket collections in city centres and shopping areas. One time, we raised over £800 in a single day! I was also lucky enough to be able to ride my bike to raise awareness and funds for the charity at RideLondon, a 100-mile cycle race, last year.

How did you first get into volunteering for Alzheimer’s Research UK?

After my father was diagnosed with dementia with Lewy bodies, we decided as a family to develop our awareness of dementia and how we could help. I am supported by Jess, my local Regional Fundraising Officer from ARUK, who makes sure I have everything I need. I’ve been to talks and met some of the researchers, which makes me feel extra lucky.

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

The thing I like most is meeting other like-minded people. Being able to share their experiences, passion and enthusiasm and raise awareness of dementia gives me a great, positive feeling. I also enjoy meeting those that might not be aware of Alzheimer’s Research UK yet and want to help.

It’s fantastic to think that someday the hard work of volunteers, fundraiser and researchers might lead to a better future for those living with dementia and their friends and family.

Why do you support Alzheimer’s Research UK?

My main reason for supporting dementia research is that both my grandparents on my father’s side had dementia and more recently my father was also diagnosed. It is a cause that is very close to me and my family. I wanted to do what I could to help.

Would you recommend volunteering to others?

I would definitely recommend volunteering. It’s great to be raising awareness and much-needed funds while also meeting others who have been affected by dementia. It makes me feel good knowing I am doing just a little something in the effort to defeat dementia.


If you’re interested in volunteering for Alzheimer’s Research UK, there are many ways you can do it. Our roles include:

  • Collection crew volunteer
  • Event squad volunteer
  • Cheer squad volunteer
  • Media volunteer
  • Regional group member
  • Health information reviewer
  • Campaigner
  • Speaker

For more information, please go to

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About the author

Katy McIntosh

Team: Supporters and families