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Project information

Side by Side

Alzheimer’s Society’s new volunteer-led service, Side by Side, supports people to get out and about in their community, take part in new activities and build their own social networks, so that they can have a better life with dementia.

We're continually evaluating the service, and have a five year growth strategy with the aim of increasing volunteers in order to reach everyone who needs us.

Charity information: Alzheimer's Society

Alzheimer's Society logo
  • Need


    Many people with dementia can feel lonely, and we recently found that 35% of people did not leave the house every day. The effect dementia has on communication and memory can make it harder for those affected to keep up relationships, meaning they spend more and more time on their own. There is also a stigma associated with dementia that can see friends and relatives visit less often. As the symptoms progress, many people with dementia feel they can no longer take part in social activities.


    Side by Side offers people with dementia one-to-one support from local volunteers. These volunteers help people to take part in their favourite activities, such as going for a walk, or to a local café. It’s up to the person using the service to choose what they would like to do and this can vary each time. By encouraging people with dementia to get out and about in their local communities and supporting them to become involved in local groups, Side by Side helps people to feel less isolated.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    To tackle social isolation and the loneliness a diagnosis of dementia can lead to.


    » People with dementia are paired with dedicated local volunteers, who provide support to enable them to lead more fulfilling lives.

    What success will look like

    Every operational service is evaluated against outcomes stated in our outcomes framework, including outcomes that people affected by dementia want to see in their lives.

  • Impact


    The aim of Side by Side is to tackle social isolation and the loneliness this can lead to. Over time, the service will enable the person with dementia to be more involved and included in their community. For some people, this might even mean that they become less dependent on Side by Side over time, as the volunteer takes steps to enable them to participate in their community without them too.


    A key factor in the success of Side by Side is the ability to recruit volunteers. We have mitigated this risk through the creation of new volunteer roles focused on volunteers themselves – increasing capacity and improving the volunteer experience. We are also incorporating volunteering opportunities into our strategic partnerships to increase our potential pool of volunteers.


    Donors receive regular updates about our projects.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £2,111,131

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £1,577,399 1 Staff Salaries
      £140,887 2 Volunteer Recruitment and Expenses
      £119,109 3 Staff Travel Costs
      £248 4 Course Fees
      £8,246 5 Health and Safety Equipment and Testing
      £265,242 6 General Service Charges

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Bank of Ireland £50,000 Guaranteed
    Capita £275,000 Guaranteed
    Headley Trust £25,000 Guaranteed
    Gwyneth Forrester Trust £25,000 Guaranteed
    City Bridge Trust £42,500 Guaranteed
    Individual donor £20,000 Guaranteed
    Individual donor £43,388 Guaranteed
    Contract income £285,013 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Side by Side is a national service run in 58 different areas – from major cities to rural locations across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Side by Side’s national reach is vital to ensuring that we are able to support even more people across the country. We continue to grow these services in order to reach everyone with dementia who needs our support. This includes those who are currently under-represented in our services, such as ethnic minority communities.


    Side by Side benefits people living with dementia – anyone with a diagnosis who wishes to can access it. The service reflects what people with dementia have told us is needed to maintain and maximise their quality of life. In particular, it answers the needs identified in a series of ‘Dementia Statements’, which were co-designed by people living with dementia. 1,200 people with dementia are now accessing Side by Side, and we have more than 1,400 volunteers.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Alzheimer’s Society provide the widest range of dementia-specific services of any UK charity, and Side by Side is the only volunteer-led dementia specialist service of its kind. Developed as a three-year pilot, we launched Side by Side with four ‘pathfinder’ sites in April 2014. Following a formal evaluation by NCVO in 2017, we have since rolled out the service across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. As of June 2018 there were 58 Side by Side services.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Service Co-Ordinators And Volunteers

    Integral to helping tailor Side by Side to the unique needs and wishes of the service users, helping to empower them.

    People Living With Dementia

    Instrumental in making Side by Side a success - the service reflects their determination, positivity and energy.