New charity Sid Valley HELP has big plans

Originally posted in the Sidmouth Herald.

A trailblazing support service has big plans for the Sid Valley, from befriending to first-aid courses and building an army of volunteers.

Sid Valley HELP (SVH) was officially made a ‘registered charity’ last month.

The cause has two main aims: to provide a free, independent and confidential signposting and advice service to people who are ill, lonely or experiencing difficult circumstances, and to offer a befriending or visiting service to help combat the loneliness of those who are housebound or isolated, old and young.

This week, Di Fuller, chairman of SVH, spoke out about their plans, giving an update on the charity’s work.

Fuller said they had plans to start a Saturday coffee morning for under 50s aimed at younger and middle-aged single people (date to be decided), as well as a tea and chat group at one of their Thursday sessions, every fortnight or month, at the Leigh Browne Room at Dissenter of Sidmouth.

She added they were also running first-aid training programmes for their own staff and offering training to other voluntary groups and services, with the next session taking place on February 28 – spaces still available. From the first week in March, SVH will also be starting pop-up sessions in GPs – at the Beacon Medical Centre and Blackmore Health Centre.

Volunteers will be alternating between the two sites fortnightly.

Fuller said: “It is a bit of a landmark. It’s never been done before. I’m hoping other organisations can follow and help give information out in the practice. Doctors don’t always have time to signpost patients to services. If people like it and it works well, we will look at increasing it. We also want to try to do more with younger people, offering support to families and children under 18.”

A street collection will also be held on Friday, April 12, and volunteers will be needed to shake cans.

Fuller said they had been collating information for families, mother and toddler groups and services for children and young people that was available on their website.