Originally published in the Sidmouth Herald.
Members of the Sidmouth Health and Care Forum were the brains behind Sid Valley HELP (SVH), which was launched last October, with a mission to unite and mobilise the goodwill of the community to support people in times of need.
The Herald is now calling upon its readers to throw its support behind the campaign, helping to raise enough funds for the cause to operate for the next three years, by April 2019.
Di Fuller, chair of Sidmouth Health and Care Forum and SVH, said they’d identified a number of areas they urgently needed to address. She added they initially wanted to focus on establishing a signposting service to provide information and advice about health and wellbeing-related services, with the aim of bringing the valley’s some 200 support organisations under one directory.
Di said someone might be looking for a group to help them meet new people, help following a bereavement, offer advice on caring for somebody or even offer mental health support.
She added: “We want to help bridge the gap the health system cannot provide. There are so many organisations, some of which not many people know about. We want to change that.”
To do this, SVH is putting out a call to all of the valley’s health and wellbeing services to make contact if they haven’t already - allowing SVH to establish a comprehensive and accessible list of up-to-date services.
Di said: “We know this is a valuable service for people and their families who are in need of support and information about what is available. But also, it is useful for GP practices, the community nursing team and social services.
She said once they have enough funding, they plan to launch a befriending service to help those who are housebound and/or isolated.
“Loneliness is a big issue in our society and is closely linked to mental health wellbeing and also physical health problems. However, this type of provision is costly and we do not wish to begin a service that we cannot sustain. Therefore we need to know that we have funding for at least a three-year programme.”
Visit www.sidvalleyhelp.org.uk or drop into Leigh Browne Room on Tuesday or Thursday mornings for more information.