Neighbourhood Return – volunteers requested

Love and Return thy Neighbour.  That’s the aim of the new Neighbourhood Return scheme, which aims to act quickly to find people with memory problems, such as dementia, who have got lost.   Can you help us?  We are looking for volunteers to join searches in their immediate area, who have a mobile phone which is regularly charged and has credit on it, and who can use text messaging.   

We know everyone isn’t available all the time, so the scheme aims to sign up as many volunteers as possible.   If you aren’t available or in the area when we alert you that someone has gone missing, just text back ‘no’.   If you are free to help, our care centre will send you a description of the person and let you know where to search.   When you reach the destination, you let them know and they will provide further instructions on where to look next.  Our safe searching guide helps to give you guidance about searching and how to gently approach the person who is lost, should you find them.  Searches are conducted for up to two-and-a-half hours by volunteers, who can join or leave the search at any point during this time, if the person isn’t found by then, the search is then handed over to the police.

You can sign up to the scheme at or by phoning 0116 229 3118.  This isn’t a huge commitment. You will rarely or may never be called to help, but by registering, not only will you help carers to feel supported by their local community, but should someone in your local area go missing you could help save a life.  

If you are a carer of someone with memory problems, you can register them using the contacts above. It’s absolutely free.  Once your loved one is registered, we will send you a fridge magnet with the helpline number on, so you can easily find it, should you ever need it.   If you pre-register someone memory problems, we can get volunteers mobilised in 3-5 minutes.  You can still use the scheme in an emergency without pre-registration, it just takes 15-20 minutes to get all the details we need to start the search.  The call centre keep in touch with both the carer and Thames Valley Police at regular intervals to let them know how the search is progressing.  

Thank you very much for helping to increase our volunteers in Berkshire.

Deborah Ginns
Service Manager
Neighbourhood Return
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