0191 643 2626
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volunteering

Anne: Good Neighbours Beneficiary

When the realities of the coronavirus started to hit home in the UK, like many, Anne from Longbenton realised she was in an at risk group due to taking immune suppressing medication, in addition her husband is over 70. Having no immediate family nearby for support, Anne was extremely concerned about how they would cope.

“I used to lie awake at night worrying about how we could get food. We’re not online, so couldn’t make any orders over the internet and neither of us drive, which made going out for shopping even more challenging,” commented Anne.

Thankfully, in a regular phone conversation with her neighbour who is also shielding, Anne was told about the North Tyneside COVID-19 Support Hub, who she contacted and was quickly referred to the COVID-19 Good Neighbours scheme.

Anne was able to pay money over the phone to the council, which was then collected by her volunteer Cathy so that she could go shopping on her behalf. Cathy now shops for the couple once a week to ensure they have everything they need.

Anne added: “Cathy is an absolute godsend. Nothing is a problem for her. If something isn’t available, she’ll ring me to check if there is anything else I would like. Last week she even came back to drop off a VE Day poster for our window, it was such a thoughtful thing to do. Everyone I have spoken to has been amazing, it is really reassuring knowing that there is someone there for us during this challenging time.”

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COVID-19 guide to volunteering with people with dementia

Understandably there are many volunteers who are offering to help people with dementia with practical day to day tasks. To help them with a better understanding of a person with dementia’s situation Innovations in Dementia has created a volunteer guide that has been produced by people with dementia, which you can download here.

There are also four new short videos, designed for volunteers who are supporting a person with dementia. These are endorsed by the British Psychological Society, Alzheimer’s Society and NAPA (National Activity Providers Association).

Read more here.

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New COVID-19 guidance and support from VODA

In light of the unprecedented growth of online COVID-19 informal support groups, VODA has developed a new Informal Volunteering Guidance sheet for volunteers and a series of videos with useful guidance on areas such as Supporting Volunteers – aimed primarily at informal volunteering groups – Safeguarding, Telephone Befriending Tips and how to Stay Safe as a Volunteer.

Supporting Volunteers (aimed primarily at informal volunteering groups)

Supporting Volunteers from Robin on Vimeo.

Safeguarding Tips

Safeguarding tips from Robin on Vimeo.

Staying Safe while Volunteering

Staying safe whilst volunteering from Robin on Vimeo.

Telephone Befriending

Telephone Befriending advice from Robin on Vimeo.

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How being a Good Neighbour can really make a difference

As part of North Tyneside Council’s #WhoCares week, we want to share this lovely Good Neighbours case study with you to show the difference volunteering can make to both the volunteer and the beneficiary’s life…

Janet Ross Good Neighbours VolunteerFor many years Janet Ross from Forrest Hall had informally helped her local community alongside her full-time job. However, after taking early retirement, Janet took the step to sign up to volunteering through VODA as a way of keeping active in the community and meeting some new people.

She joined the Good Neighbours project in early 2019 with the aim of helping someone locally with odd jobs typical of a ‘Good Neighbour’. VODA supports and trains volunteers to become Good Neighbours and carry out small jobs for people in North Tyneside who are unable to do them independently.

Janet offers to do little jobs for people, such as picking up little bits of shopping or dropping round soup on a cold day. She fits volunteering around her busy schedule and says that while these tasks take hardly any time out of her day, they actually make a big difference to the people she visits.

Janet likes that she can be of practical help, which can help bring communities closer. Speaking of her experience visiting housebound older people, Janet says: “I am inspired by people’s resilience to hardship and their acceptance of difficult situations. This is something that drives my passion for volunteering as I can use my skill base to make a difference to people’s lives. Although I initially signed up to help people in my local area, I have since found that I get more out of volunteering than I could have ever imagined.”

In addition to odd jobs Janet decided to take on some regular tasks for Good Neighbours. VODA’s Good Neighbours project worker, Ian Brigstock, matched Janet with Joan who is of a similar age and lives close to her home in Forrest Hall. Joan finds getting out of the house difficult so Janet visits her weekly. With some support and a friendly face to rely on, Joan and Janet have been able to take trips to The Rising Sun Country Park and local cafes for lunch.  The two have developed a unique bond through Good Neighbours and Janet plans to take Joan to a Motown dancing event in November, something which Joan hasn’t been able to enjoy for many years.

Joan was referred into Good Neighbours through the re-ablement team for some social contact as she had struggled with agoraphobia for many years.

The pair meet regularly every week and Joan says: “Ian (Brigstock) could not have done a better job at matching me with Janet as she is the same age and has a number of similar interests. Janet has become someone that I can trust; I struggle with anxiety and find leaving the house difficult. Janet has been a great support in helping me tackle my anxieties; she is always there to calm me down when things get too much.”

Janet and Joan often take trips out into the local community for lunch or social activities, and Joan is confident that Janet won’t leave her alone if she becomes anxious when out and about. Janet has played a big part in pushing Joan out of her comfort zone and building confidence.

Janet has supported Joan to use the computer to get quotes for repaving her garden; the work has since been done and has transformed the garden into a space that Joan and her little dog can enjoy spending time in. Janet will be teaching Joan the basics of gardening and helping her to plant spring bulbs. In return Joan has helped Janet with jigsaw puzzles and given her bags of apples to bake with. Joan has such a caring nature and by being able to help Janet with small odd jobs has boosted her confidence and self esteem massively.

Joan commented that: ‘We have become genuine friends through the Good Neighbours project. I admire Janet so much, she gives me hope when times are difficult. But is not just about that, because we’re friends now we help each other out, it’s nice to be able to give something back and offer support to Janet should she need it. I’ll often pop round to collect her for a trip out or offer help with projects. I tell myself regularly – If Janet can do it, I can do it…. she gives me inspiration and I can’t thank her enough.”

Janet commented: “I’m so pleased with the support from Good Neighbours during my volunteering. I meet up with other volunteers on a regular basis and it’s wonderful to feel valued and part of a group who care about the community.”

This winter, if you’ve got a spare couple of minutes, why not check in on an older neighbour?  Your visit to see if they need any shopping or help clearing their icy pathways could really make their week.

Contact a Good Neighbours worker on 0191 643 2626 or email admin@voda.org.uk.

 

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BBC Radio Newcastle features Good Neighbours

We were delighted that the BBC Radio Newcastle Breakfast Show was able to join our Good Neighours shopping trip last week. They spent the morning chatting to our shoppers and volunteers to find out more about how this wonderful project helps to support people stay in their own home and keep their independence. You can listen to the feature from last week’s show below. If you would like to get involved, please contact us for more information.

Good Neighbours on BBC Radio Newcastle, 28.6.19 from Robin on Vimeo.

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New guide to supporting older volunteers

A new online guide has been released to help charities support age-friendly and inclusive volunteering. The Centre for Ageing Better’s Age-Friendly and Inclusive Volunteering guide sets out key principles to avoid missing out on the talents of people in later life.

The Age-Friendly and Inclusive Volunteering guide introduces six principles that organisations working with volunteers can adopt to address barriers to inclusion and widen participation. These include offering more flexibility, providing opportunities for volunteers to meet and spend time with other people, and making use of volunteers’ individual strengths. It also lists practical examples and recommendations that can help support, recruit and retain older volunteers.

The guide is based on a review into community contributions in later life carried out by the Centre for Ageing Better, in partnership with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Following the review, the Centre for Ageing Better awarded over £250,000 of government funding to five projects to pilot and share new approaches to age-friendly and inclusive volunteering.

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Interview with volunteer Emma Ramshaw

Emma Ramshaw has been volunteering with VODA in North Tyneside since 2008. During that time she has changed the lives of hundreds of young people. Emma was recently awarded Volunteer of the Year at the Pitman Superachievers Awards for her hard work and dedication. Emma volunteers for a variety of charities and organisations including VODA, The Prince’s Trust and NCS and despite her own uphill battle, she continues to create change in our local community.

We interviewed Emma to find out more about her volunteering experience and what motivates her to continue to help others…

Emma Ramshaw – North Tyneside VODA volunteer, part one from Robin on Vimeo.

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NCVO’s 10 top tips on recruiting and retaining young volunteers

NCVO

Using evidence from the National Youth Social Action Survey (NYSAS) and NCVO’s Time Well Spent research, #iwill ambassador Stephen Tutin explains how organisations can recruit and retain younger volunteers.

Stephen’s top 10 tips for getting more young volunteers are:

  1. Start as young as possible
  2. Get their families involved
  3. Explain your social purpose clearly
  4. Don’t underestimate young people.
  5. Have young representatives (eg in steering groups, or as trustees)
  6. Build their confidence
  7. Focus on career skills
  8. Engage with schools and universities
  9. Get their friends involved
  10. Keep things fun and flexible

Read more here.

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VODA – coming to a venue near you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

VODA and the services we offer are available across North Tyneside and although we are based in North Shields we are keen to make sure that volunteers, groups and organisations across the borough know who we are and what we do.

For that reason, we are taking our services on the road throughout 2019! Members of VODA’s team will be available at community venues on the following dates and times to speak to anyone interested in volunteering in North Tyneside, or in finding out more about VODA and the services we offer to the voluntary and community sector:

We have recently launched a new visual representation of our vision and plans – see picture above – and offering an outreach service is just one way of making sure these plans happen effectively. There is no need to book a place at any of these sessions – just pop along to talk to one of our friendly team to find out how VODA can help.

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Moving On Tyne & Wear: Weekly drop-in sessions at VODA

 

 

 

 

 

Did you know that VODA is a delivery partner in the Moving On Tyne & Wear programme?

Moving On Tyne & Wear helps people who live in North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland and South Tyneside and are unemployed due to their physical or mental health.

Support through the programme is delivered on a one-to-one basis – every person on the programme receives a unique service which completely depends on their needs.

As part of the Moving On Tyne & Wear programme, VODA works with North Tyneside Council to provide volunteering opportunities and related support to people who are looking to overcome health barriers and access further training, education and employment. We can help MOTW participants to access meaningful volunteering opportunities across the borough with both voluntary and community sector organisations and within North Tyneside Council itself.

In order to give more information to anyone interested in finding out about the programme and the support on offer, we are holding Moving On Tyne & Wear drop-in sessions every Wednesday from 10am to 12 noon at VODA, beginning on 13 February. There is no need to book a place at these sessions, simply call in to our offices at the Queen Alexandra Campus and ask to speak to the Moving On Tyne & Wear team.

Read more about the project here

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