Sid Valley HELP’s reveals plans next three years, including befriending service for the lonely

The Herald has joined forces with Sid Valley HELP (SVH) in a campaign to raise £60,000 for a support service in the valley.

In recent weeks, the newspaper has been exploring the charity’s work, in a bid to inspire readers to show their support and help SVH secure its future for the next three years.

Two weeks ago we wrote about the ‘real value of volunteering’ – prompting donations and potential volunteers to come forward with queries about what the money will be used for.

Speaking to the Herald, Di Fuller, chairman of SVH, said the £60,000 would give the charity three years of core funding for two services – firstly to provide a free, independent and confidential signposting and advice service to people who are ill, lonely or experiencing difficult circumstances, and secondly to offer a befriending or visiting service to help combat loneliness of those who are housebound or isolated – not just the elderly but younger people too.

She added: “The signposting service is already up and running and plans are developing for the visiting service.

“But, we cannot start this until we have secured funding for three years.

“It is important that once such a service is started, we have enough funding to continue it.”

SVH has been working with Independent Age, a national charity that is hoping to extend their provision for home visits to the elderly who are lonely in the valley.

There will be a joint volunteer recruitment event at the Unitarian Church on Tuesday, October 23 from 10am and 12pm.

Emma Donovan, SVH’s information service coordinator, said: “Since the Herald has promoted the charity, there have been more visits to the website and more people walking in to seek advice or information.

“Some people have wanted to get out and mix with people and we have referred some of them to other charities to volunteer.

Others have recently been bereaved and want to join a local group or queries are sometimes made by a relative.

“Sometimes advice is sought for local activities or help with bills or concerns about scams,” she added.

Part of what SVH is trying to do is provide a network for organisations and groups that support health and care needs for all ages – many of which people don’t even know exist.

The next free network event will be at the Unitarian Chapel Dance Studio, All Saints Road on Monday, October 8 from 4pm until 5.30pm - all groups are welcome.

Email sidvalleyHELP@gmail for more information.