As part of our charity support, we like to turn the spotlight onto our chosen charity partner and ask them to tell us about their vital work. For 2020 and 2021, CRM has been raising funds for Daybreak Oxford, a charity that provides respite support to people living with dementia through three local centres.

Honourable Secretary of Daybreak Oxford, Mary, Lady Tovey, speaks passionately about her personal experiences of Daybreak and why she became a Trustee of the charity after her husband, Sir Brian Tovey, passed away.

“Brian was diagnosed with vascular dementia in 2014 and we’d been battling his sight loss and mobility problems for a couple of years before that. It was incredibly difficult to maintain a quality of life for both of us.

“We discovered Daybreak through a recommendation from Age UK at the John Radcliffe Hospital and we visited The Limes Centre which is quite close to where we live in North Oxford. I shed a few tears when I first left Brian in the capable hands of the team for a few hours, but I was so grateful for their outstanding care so that I could catch up on shopping or get my hair done, without worrying.

“Daybreak offers a lifeline to carers of people with dementia – the clients get a wonderfully stimulating time with puzzles, music, games and lovely food, whilst the carers can have some time away from their physically and emotionally demanding responsibilities. There is also a marvellous support network for the carers with coffee groups where they can share tips and help each other with good humour or a shoulder to cry on.

“My support from Daybreak continued after Brian died in 2015 and I was asked to become a Trustee in 2017. I enjoy being involved in all aspects of the charity and in 2019 I took on the Secretary role, we have a strong Board with proactive, young trustees.

“There have been very challenging times through the pandemic when the Daybreak centres couldn’t open but the amazing team phoned every client every day to support them and even delivered food donated from the local COOK store.

“As we emerge from COVID, the centres have reopened and there are exciting times ahead as Daybreak is planning to open new centres in Littlemore and Benson to widen our reach to people living with dementia and their dedicated carers.

“Daybreak was a lifesaver for Brian and I, and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without it. With demand for the services greater than ever, I am so pleased to still be involved with this wonderful charity. As a Trustee and Secretary, I’m probably busier than I’ve ever been! What spurs me on is seeing the same devotion in every carer that I felt for Brian, and also the same fear for the future – the support from Daybreak takes some of this worry away.”

Thank you so much to Mary for sharing her inspiring story.

There is no cure for dementia, but day club attendance is one of the few recommended treatments, providing the best care and companionship. During 2020 and 2021, despite being restricted, CRM staff were committed to distanced fundraising events for Daybreak Oxford, including our Christmas Hamper Raffle and our Land’s End to John O’Groats Virtual Challenge.

Working with a charity partner allows us to engage with our clients and other stakeholders to do some good while strengthening our relationships and having a great time. This autumn will see the return of our ever-popular Charity Race Night in November, so watch out for more details and enjoy a night out for this vital charity.

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