Background Information from the Community Survey:
The idea of a ‘Good Neighbour Scheme’ was highly supported with over 67% of all respondents agreeing such a scheme would be a good idea in their area. The initial interest in the scheme was reflected in the number of ‘volunteers’ it attracted, 45 in total, from across the Civil Parish. Coupled with the voluntary driver scheme, which attracted 18 ‘volunteers’, it formed a comprehensive group of individuals who had expressed their interest in an active commitment to the community.
Report on Progress:
Despite the large numbers of people originally indicating an interest in becoming involved with this project, there are, as yet, just 7 people who are currently actively engaged in taking it forward. Group members have undertaken some initial research as to what support services may be already provided in our area. We are linking with Calderdale Council (Neighbourhood Schemes Team), Age UK and Community Transport Calderdale (+ others) to obtain information about the actual numbers and needs of vulnerable elderly and/or disabled people living on our area, as well as the range of support services that already operate in our area.
It has been agreed that, rather than ‘inventing (or re-inventing) the wheel’, it would be more effective – and safer – for us to recruit volunteers for existing services that provide support to local residents. We could also assist them in identifying suitable potential recipients for their services. By doing so, we will be able to ‘shelter’ under the umbrella of an established organisation – with its built in systems for vetting of volunteers, training and supervision etc.
Group members decided that we would concentrate, at least initially, on the 2 services that appeared to have most relevance and potential to get off the ground:-
- The Community Car Service provided via Community Transport Calderdale
- The Home from Hospital Service provided via Age UK (Calderdale + Kirklees)
And so, we followed this up by arranging a public meeting (an open afternoon) which we held on Monday 5th March at the Heptonstall Social & Bowling Club. Flyers had been delivered by group members to every household in the Civil Parish (616 in total); posters put up in noticeboards and at the Post Office, Pubs and at May’s Shop; an advert was placed on the new Parish website; previously interested people (the original list of volunteers) were e-mailed. Representatives from both services attended to provide information and to take applications. We also had on display information about 2 nearby luncheon clubs (in Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd) – with whom we had made links – and who had confirmed that they had vacancies. Also present was the organiser of the monthly Shopping Bus (provided via Community Transport) that takes people to shop at Tesco in Halifax.
Just a handful of people attended on the day but, together with the members of the group plus a couple of additional interested people who wanted to ‘sign up’ but had given apologies, it did mean that we successfully recruited a number of volunteers for both the Community Car Service and Home from Hospital Service.
Along the way, interest had also been expressed by some other members of the community who, whilst not wishing to go through the formal volunteer registration process, were willing to help in a practical way with both services (offering to help with gardening, shopping, etc.).
We are still open to exploring possible links with other service providers as well as an option that might be about either helping people access resources/facilities out of our immediate area (e.g. luncheon clubs, etc). Transport to these could, of course, be provided via the Community Car Service and our new pool of local volunteer drivers. Alternatively, should there be an identified need – and interest – we might also explore the option of providing events and activities in our own local venues.
However, given the limited active interest and involvement from the community to date, any further action on our part will be dependent on securing additional support. So – if you are willing to help and/or would like to find out more about what we are trying to achieve – please contact:-
Phil Kelly – Tel: 01422 847328 or E-mail: jacandphil*talktalk.net (change * to @)
Next Meeting of the Group: Monday 19th March @ 1:00 pm – details from Phil Kelly.