The number of people from a South Asian background living with dementia is set to increase by 600 per cent within the next three decades. However, families in this community are less likely to access treatment and support when diagnosed due to a lack of culturally appropriate diagnostic tools and services.
Dementia UK Volunteer Ambassador Manny Kang has hosted multiple fundraising events, to raise awareness of dementia and to generate crucial funds for Dementia UK, supporting their Admiral Nurses who provide life-changing support for families affected by all forms of dementia.
His most popular event, Samosa Saturday, invites Wolverhampton Wanderers FC supporters to make a donation to Dementia UK in exchange for a samosa.
He has been widely recognised for his dedicated fundraising work. Manny is supporting families living with dementia including the South Asian community, through his fundraising. Manny also believes his active fundraising work and engagement in community life, enables him to stay connected with his faith on a daily basis.
In an exclusive interview with Eastern Eye, he shares his experience and journey as a dementia volunteer ambassador in the UK.
Please share a brief background about yourself.
My name is Manny Singh Kang and I’m 49 years old. I’d describe myself as a real family man, born and raised in Wolverhampton. The three loves in my life are my faith, Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, and volunteering.
What motivated you to start engaging in volunteer work in dementia care and what motivates you to continue your engagement?
Today, dementia is the leading cause of death in the UK. By 2025, more than one million people in the UK will be living with this devastating condition. Although I haven’t yet experienced what it’s like to know and love someone with dementia, I believe it’s my duty to help families however I can — without any reason. All of us have a responsibility to help others.
How has your Sikh faith inspired you to fundraise?
Sharing is a key pillar of the Sikh faith — this isn’t just about giving money, but time, words, and actions too which create positive consequences. I’m in a fortunate position, with a roof over my head, food on the table, and good health — so I feel it’s important to help other people who don’t have access to the same necessities. We should all be helping in any way we can.
What fundraising events have you held to date and how much have you raised for Dementia in the UK?
I’ve been a Volunteer Ambassador for Dementia UK for four years. So far, I’ve raised £130,000 for the charity following a series of fundraising activities, including Samosa Saturday. I love taking part in challenge events — I’ve run the London Marathon and have also cycled to an away game at Liverpool FC. This October, I’ll be walking from Wolves Wanderers FC to Chelsea FC which I’m really excited about.
Tell us something about the life-changing support that you help to provide for families affected by all forms of dementia.
Through my fundraising, I help Dementia UK which is the only charity dedicated to helping families face dementia through their specialist dementia nurses called Admiral Nurses. They provide life-changing support and guidance for families affected by all forms of dementia, considering the person living with dementia and the people around them — and they can advise other healthcare professionals.
How did you come up with the Samosa Saturday idea?
I’ve been proudly supporting Dementia UK as a Volunteer Ambassador for over four years, taking part in Challenge Events to raise awareness and funds for the charity.
The biggest fundraising event I’ve held is Samosa Saturday, which invites Wolverhampton Wanderers FC supporters to donate to Dementia UK in exchange for a samosa. We’ve served 35,000 samosas to date, prepared by my family at home, and have raised around £40,000. The idea came about because we didn’t just want to ask for money without giving something back to the wonderful fans that contribute their hard-earned savings to the cause and along came the Samosa —we call it our “humble little triangle.”
You were recently nominated for a Just Giving Award and also carried the baton at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games – please share your experience with us.
It was a complete surprise to be asked to carry the Queen’s Baton at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games, and in such an iconic location at Ironbridge. I was proud to be representing Dementia UK. It was a magical experience seeing so many people lining the streets and cheering us along — it’s something I’ll never forget.
I’m also truly humbled to be nominated as a finalist for the Outstanding Commitment, Just Giving Award 2022, for my fundraising activities in aid of Dementia UK. Although I don’t do this work for recognition, these award ceremonies and platforms help to further my efforts in bringing attention to the crucial work Dementia UK are undertaking.
Why do you feel it’s important for everyone to get involved with raising awareness of dementia, regardless of having a personal connection to the condition?
Millions of us will know someone living with dementia and many will be directly affected by it. However, we shouldn’t have to wait until we are touched by it personally to get involved with raising awareness and funds for charity — it’s everybody’s responsibility to help improve the lives of those living with dementia.
If you need advice or support around dementia, you can visit dementiauk.org/get-support for information resources and to find out how to access our national Helpline and Clinics services.
For his continued commitment to fundraising for Dementia UK, Manny Kang has been nominated as a finalist under the Outstanding Commitment category for the 2022 Just Giving Awards. If you’d like to vote for Manny to win, you can visit the link here: https://page.justgiving.com/awardsvoting2022