Questions answer about trailblazing support service Sid Valley HELP answered

Originally posted in the Sidmouth Herald.

Why does SVH need volunteers? How much time does it take? Will training be given?

Di said: “SVH provides free and confidential information and advice on health and care support services for Sid Valley residents who are ill, lonely or in life changing circumstances. We also support other health and care support groups through networks and training. People at our networks have come up with lots of ideas of how to reduce loneliness in the Sid Valley. All of these ideas require volunteers to help organise things. Sometimes people don’t want to commit to the same day or time each week, but would like to help in some way. Occasional support is still very welcome. Could you help us with fundraising? Or organising a social event for lonely people? Or putting up posters or making tea? All of these things need to be done to support the volunteers who do the face to face work and befriending. Some people may like to take more responsibility than others.

What sort of volunteering is there?

• Supporting our current information and advice sessions. 
• Helping at ‘pop up’ advice sessions.
• Joining a fundraising group.
• Visiting/befriending with us for under 60s or with Independent Age for over 60s.
• Running/helping at monthly tea/coffee sessions.
• Running/ helping a board games afternoon once a month.
• Helping with administration.
• Joining Friends of SVH to respond when called upon for things like street collecting, fetes, leaflet drops, teas at events, and whatever we haven’t thought of.

What happens next if I decide I would like to volunteer?

• If you wish to join Friends of SVH we will take your contact details and keep you informed when we need your help. 
• If you wish to volunteer more formally, we request that you complete an application form and have an interview.
• If we decide to proceed, then depending on what you are volunteering to do, you will be invited to an induction to find out more about the role and our policies that affect volunteers.
• If you are supporting advice sessions or taking part in visiting people, then you will need to have a DBS check and further appropriate training.
• Training costs are covered by SVH.
• If you decide not to volunteer with SVH but would still like to volunteer, then we will help you find a suitable placement .

Di Said: “As well as activities that the community offers, we believe that there is a need for a befriending service to reduce loneliness. There are various services provided, but for some people support is not currently available. These may be people who live alone, who are recently bereaved or separated, who have few friends, have recently moved here, have a long term illness or a disability or who have maybe lost their confidence to go out and meet people. If you are lonely and would like to have a befriender visit you at home, then please contact us. If you know of people who you think are lonely please contact us and tell us what sort of support they might like and how we could get them involved. Also contact us if you would like to visit someone who is lonely.”

Visit or call 01395 892011/ 07378 964521 for more information or to donate. Alternatively, visit the Leigh Brown Room, at the Dissenters Chapel on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10am to 12pm.