Autumn 2021 Newsletter
"For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothes me. I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me" Matthew 25 v 35-36
GOING FOR GOLD!!!
We have recently received some very exciting news and are delighted to confirm that Evergreen has been awarded the Gold level award for valuing volunteers in Bexley by The Bexley Volunteer Centre at BVSC.
Valuing Volunteers in Bexley is a quality standard developed
by Volunteer Centre Bexley, based on the Greater London
Volunteering 'Experts in Volunteering' Health Check. It recognises organisations in the London Borough of Bexley that manage volunteers well and provide a positive, high-quality experience.
Using these standards as our guidance, we have been spending time over the past few months looking at how to improve our policies, procedures and practices to ensure that our volunteers are included, fell valued and are provided with training and support to help them in their role. This was made somewhat more difficult with the COVID situation, however we are delighted to confirm that the Bexley Volunteer Centre have carried out a review and have declared themselves fully satisfied that we have demonstrated Gold level in good practice in volunteer management. We give thanks to all of our volunteers as with you, your feedback and support, we wouldn't be here so we are delighted to accept this award on your behalf. If you have any thoughts or ideas about improving the volunteer experience, we are always happy to hear from you. Wendy & Caroline.
Anne North is one of our newer befrienders, she was introduced to he r lovely client in July and when we asked Anne about her befriending experiences, this is what she told us: I wanted to become an Evergreen befriender as I know that there are people who are lonely and I wanted to do something to help. I wanted to be able to cheer someone up, give them company and make them feel valued.
My befriending client is lovely, very intelligent and very independent. She has a gentle way of letting me know that she doesn't necessarily want people to do things for her, even if she appears to be struggling so I know her independence is important to her. We go for coffees together in the local café and she is lovely to talk to, a real chatterbox, we are 2 of a kind! I couldn't have been matched with a better person, I feel like she is family already. Thank you Anne, we are so glad to have you at Evergreen.
BEFRIENDERS' COFFEE MORNING
We are holding a "real life" Befrienders' coffee morning: Date: Wednesday 22nd September 2021 Venue: The refresh centre, Belvedere Baptist church 50 Nuxley road Belvedere DA17 5JG Time: 10:30am until midday.
No need to book a place, just come along for as long as you'd like. Please note, this is for Befriender's only. Please see elsewhere for information about joint meetings. It is so exciting to be finally opening up some of our events again and we are really looking forward to see all you lovely people, so we do hope you can join us.
One of our lovely volunteers Alf (some of you may remember him from the previous newsletter) recently celebrated a significant birthday and to mark this special occasion he very kindly had a Birthday Appeal amongst his friends and family and raised the amazing sum of £237.50 for Evergreen.
Thank you Alf for thinking of us on your special day, we hope that you had the best time celebrating.
Bexley Mayor's Afternoon Tea
On Saturday 7th June on a sometimes sunny and sometimes heavily
raining day, along with about 400 other volunteers, I was blessed to be able to attend the Mayor's Afternoon Tea in a lovely marquee next to Danson House, which had kindly been put on by the Mayor of Bexley and Bexley Councillors as a way of saying "Thank You" to all the volunteers in the borough who give their time to help make a difference.
It was a lovely event with live music and as you can see from the
photos some lovely cakes and refreshments and it was great to meet people and hear about their volunteering experiences. It was especially nice to see some of you wonderful Befrienders there. Sorry if you were there and I didn't manage to speak with you that day, I did try to spot as many of you as I could in the crowds.
Evergreen Friends Together
We are delighted to confirm that we are restarting our Evergreen Friends Together meetings on a monthly basis from October. The first meeting will take place in the Earl Haig pub, The Pantiles, Bexleyheath on Wednesday 6th October from 11.30am to 1.30pm. For those of you who have joined us since COVID and have not been along to one of these before, Evergreen Friends Together is a social event that Befrienders can come along to with their befriending clients and meet other volunteers and clients. We usually have a little table quiz and the pub offer reduced price coffees and teas. Many befrienders and their clients used to come along and have their lunch together.
If you are unable to attend but you know your client would like to, please let them know that they are welcome to attend on their own or with a friend or family member if they are able to get there. Befrienders, you are also welcome to come along on your own if, for any reason your client is unable to join you. We look forward to welcoming you back to these lovely social events and hope that you can join us on this date or for one of the future events.
Evergreen's Home Support Service
Hi to all you wonderful volunteers. My name is Mick and along with my colleague Claire we head up the Evergreen home support service. This is a paid service where we support our clients in their own home with numerous tasks that they are finding a struggle or maybe just a "wellbeing" call for reassurance. From cleaning their kitchens and bathrooms to getting them their "big shop". Even taking them shopping in the car if the client is willing and able.
With some of our clients, being taken out is what's needed more than anything. Giving them confidence for the practical trip to Tesco or the stroll around Hall Place and a chatty "coffee break" afterwards, can make their day. Our Home Support Workers, like our clients are a wide spectrum of characters. Matching them is very similar to the volunteering process you went through with your befriendees. We have around 50 Home Support Workers touching the lives of over 200 of Bexley's elderly community. Visits to the clients vary depending on needs. Some only have the minimum of 1 hour a week to others who see multiple members of staff daily. The HSW's role, like that of the volunteer, can be a very satisfying one and often rewarding. Thanks Mick and Claire - the Home Support Service is a great service which suits clients who may need a bit more support than volunteers can provide. If you want to find out more about this service, please contact the office and Mick and Claire will be more than happy to help.
News from Suffolk Hello from sunny Suffolk,
It is hard to believe that it has been 6 months since we moved home. Time has gone so quickly. We have settled into life here and this summer has been quite busy. Our family were finally allowed to visit and it has been nice spending time with them all. Thank you all for your continued commitment to your clients, which I believe is greatly needed as we come out of lockdown, although it's really more of a crawl out of lockdown. What we are seeing at the moment are many older people who, prior to Covid, were relatively self-caring, now needing a lot more support. The lockdown's seem to have greatly affected their confidence and mental health, and as furlough ends and family members return to work, they are unable to cope alone. We are receiving a high volume of referrals for all our services and are starting to compile waiting lists. If you have family or friends who may want to volunteer as a befriender, or are looking for a change in career and may be interested in becoming a Home Support Worker, please ask them to call the office for a chat. Our Elderberries Centre in Belvedere remains closed at present. We were hoping to relaunch in July and then August but both dates were cancelled due to the uncertainty of Covid situation. We do hope to open again at the end of September or October so will let you know the date. On the plus side, we have two churches looking to work with Evergreen and open Elderberries Centres at their premises. More on this exciting news as we work through the planning. A huge Well Done! needs to be said to Wendy, Caroline and the office team for attaining Gold level in Valuing Volunteers Gold Awards. A great achievement and something we can all be proud of. Coming soon: In the next few weeks, we will be launching a campaign called The 500. We are looking for 500 people to donate at least £10 per month to the ongoing work and expansion of Evergreen. There is so much need out there and new services that we want to launch. But we can't do this without the support of our community, so when this campaign is up and running, please encourage family, friends, neighbours and anyone you know to consider supporting a local charity committed to an ethos of care that is second to nine. Together we will make a difference.
Well, that's all for now folks! Until next time, take care. Pete & Diane.