To officially launch the Coastal Information Centre, our team decided they would show their dedication to a healthy lifestyle by travelling from different places in the not so local community and coming together at Teignmouth Hospital. When our sweaty teams returned they were greeted by a tempting cream tea and the head shaving of Werner Coetzee, Social Care Manager, and Richard Baker, Community Services Manager.
When the last of our teams streamed in, the Mayors of Teignmouth and Dawlish cut the ribbon to pronounce the centre open. The hub was buzzing with life and was packed with stands from local businesses and charities giving out information on how they help our community.
We run this hub alongside our normal services meaning we can help support more people in our community; it is designed to be an open space for anyone to come and gain more information on any services for them or a loved one.
Our teams managed to walk, run, cycle and kayak roughly 50 km (31 miles) between them, all this raised over £600, but most importantly raised much needed support and awareness.
Thank you to everyone who took part, helped out on the day, donated raffle prizes, bought raffle tickets, ran a stall on the day. It was a really fantastic event with an impressive turnout. Thank you!
This project is part of the TAAG (Teignmouth Arts Action Group) Community Outreach Programme. It consists of arts based sessions for people with current or recent caring responsibilities, and also people at risk of social isolation. Sessions are led by volunteer tutors who share and develop skills with participants. There are over 1800 Carers in Teignmouth (source: 2011 census). There is evidence to suggest that whilst caring for someone has many positive aspects, Carers can also experience poor health, stress, isolation, and loss of social interaction. So to be effective, Carers need to take care of themselves as well. Make It Thursdays enables Carers to come together, share experiences and take a break to explore their own talents and creativity.
In Spring 2016, a group of Carers, identified by Volunteering in Health and a TAAG volunteer (who took poetry, music and art into the homes of Carers), were invited to TAAG’s workshop. Funding from Devon Community Foundation enabled artists to work with the group to create sculptures for TRAIL, (Teignmouth’s annual recycled art sculpture trail). The public display involved interaction with the wider community, raising awareness of the role Carers play and their individual abilities and strengths. Beautiful mosaics were produced, which have permanent homes in Pellew Arcade and the sea front. Since then, a group of Carers have met weekly, calling themselves Make It Thursdays, exploring a wide range of activities including printmaking and fabric craft. They have continued contributing to the wider community, by developing, testing and producing the prototypes for the recycled and traditional willow lanterns that formed the foundation of last year’s successful Christmas Lantern Parade.
The diverse workshop activities each Thursday brings people together to provide creative stimulus and the opportunity to interact and develop friendships with others. The work produced celebrates the uniqueness of the individuals involved, which can sometimes be lost within a caring role. As their contribution to TRAIL and the Christmas Lantern Parade demonstrates, it also enables this dynamic group to share their achievements, which in turn, contributes to the wellbeing of all Teignmouth residents.
From 25th May – 23rd June, local community-run art gallery, Funky Aardvark, has very kindly given us some space within their gallery to spread the word about Volunteering in Health.
Pop in (please note it is upstairs) to find out more about the services we provide – how we could help you and how you could help us! We’ve got a lovely cosy lounge area set up where you can learn more about Volunteering in Health.
You will also find some of the gorgeous portraits that our clients made with their pen pals from Shaldon School, led by local artist Tim Starkey. Whilst you’re there you can even make your own portrait in our photobooth! We’d love to see yours, please share them on our Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #funkyportrait.
Thank you to Funky Aardvark for giving us this opportunity to show the community what we offer.
From 7th June, Volunteering in Health will be based at Teignmouth Hospital. From here we will continue to provide all of our existing services, but our new base also means that we will be able to launch a new Information Centre, providing information and support to local people.
To run this Information Centre smoothly we will be looking for new volunteers to join our 182-strong team to welcome visitors to the centre and provide them with initial information and support. To find out more about this new volunteer role, please contact our Volunteer Co-ordinator, Em Flint.
Obviously we will take a little time to move and settle into our new home, so we ask that you bear with us for the first few weeks as we find our feet. We will endeavour to keep everything running as smoothly as possible during this time.
We would like to thank Teignmouth Hospital for inviting us to work so closely with them. This closer link will enable us to work together more effectively, resulting in better support for all our clients.
We would also like to thank Marks & Spencer’s Spark Something Good project which has provided a grant and volunteer time to help get us set up. Last year Marks & Spencer chose us as their Charity of the year and raised over £5000 for us. Thanks also to the Incredible Fund and Graham Price, Chair of Teignbridge District Council, for their financial support towards our move.
We are very excited about our new venture, please do pop in and pay us a visit and share a cuppa with us. An official launch event is being planned for Saturday 15th July.
We look forward to seeing you at the Information Centre soon!
Our new contact details will be:
Volunteering in Health, Coastal Information Centre, Teignmouth Hospital, Mill Lane, Teignmouth, Devon TQ14 9BQ – 01626 771695
Over the last year, we have been Marks and Spencer’s Charity of the Year. Volunteers have been to the Newton Abbot Outlet store once a month to do bag packing, often in fancy dress! As well as being a good fun and raising money, it has been heartwarming to see the relationships the staff have with their customers. Many elderly clients are regulars and are well known by all the staff – they could predict with surprising accuracy who would pay by contactless, card, or cash and they knew which customers had a Sparks card or would want their bags packed. They knew whose daughter had been to stay recently and who had just had grandchildren. They worried if a regular hadn’t been in, and were visibly relieved if they turned up. This is the first step towards befriending and the kindness of these staff should not be underestimated – without them, there would be a much higher demand for services like ours.
Over the course of the year, M&S raised a fantastic £2500 for Volunteering in Health. THANK YOU to everyone who voted for us, bag packed, or donated their change – it really does add up!
At the end of February, local performance group, Words for Voices, put on a concert for Volunteering in Health at Bitton House in Teignmouth. It was a fabulous evening, full of laughter as well as several more thought provoking pieces about growing older. We raised about £300 on the night – thank you to everyone who came – we hoped you enjoyed it! And thank you of course to the performers for giving up their time for us.
Trinity School in Teignmouth also did some fundraising for us at Christmas, raising an impressive £600 in one afternoon! Thank you to everyone involved with this.
At the moment we are busily knitting Easter Chicks and stuffing them with Crème Eggs! If you can knit or donate some chocolate eggs it would be much appreciate, supply almost never meets demand with these!!
Roundabout is a monthly talking magazine which is sent out to people with sight problems or those who are unable to hold a newspaper or magazine. It is run by Hear and Now, a lottery funded project in Dawlish which also does a weekly talking newspaper.
Last week, we were interviewed by Roundabout to tell them more about the pen pal project we have been doing with Shaldon School. You can listen to the interview here (the March edition, our bit is from 24 minutes in).
Thank you to Jonathan and everyone at Roundabout for helping us promote this project, and to Dorith, Eugenia, Bea and Sadie-May for taking part in the interview.
Next up in the pen pal project, we are taking our clients into school again on the 30th March to share and compare memories on a range of topics, will be compiled in a book. After that we will be working with local artist, Tim Starkey, to do portraits of each other. These will be displayed at Funky Aardvark in Teignmouth throughout June.
If you would like to get involved in this project in any way, please contact us.
They say that the one thing you can always rely on is change. When someone’s health changes, the repercussions can be far-reaching; even the most capable person suddenly finds themselves in the humbling position of being the one asking for help, rather than offering it – perhaps for the first time in their adult life.
One such person, John Vaughan, is a well-known member of the local community, through his involvement with many local charities. At the age of 85, he is still going strong as the Vice Chair for Devon Senior Voice. He was the Chairperson for the local Breathe Easy group, part of the British Lung Foundation, for 8 years; a charity he became involved with after his wife was diagnosed with COPD.
Throughout his life, John has been a keen horse rider (and still is), so when he went to the doctor in October 2016 with pain in his lower back, he didn’t think much of it – assuming it was related to his riding. But the next thing he knew, he’d been told he had cancer and needed to have a kidney removed. After such an active life, this was a huge shock, and sent John into depression.
Whilst recovering in Dawlish Hospital, John met our Hospital Link Workers, who supported him and referred him to our Wellbeing Co-ordinators for ongoing support when he came home. It was only when he came home from hospital that John really understood how poorly he was – but his main priority was making sure his much loved dog, Wesley, was looked after! Volunteering in Health’s Wellbeing Co-ordinator, Jill Breyley, came to visit and support him. Though John has many friends and a supportive family, he found Jill’s support invaluable: she helped him to sort through his paperwork, arranged for rails to be put up in the garden to make it easier for him to get out, and organised a cleaner from our Home Help Service to help out at home and walk the dog – a task John’s neighbour has now gladly taken on.
John told us, “I’m usually a cheerful, buoyant person, and used to being a leader, but after this happened I was suddenly flat on my back. I didn’t know how to handle it. I was prepared for the physical effects, but not the psychological effects. There were so many people coming in and out and I didn’t know who they were or why they were there. Jill helped me to make sense of it all. She was a terrific help.”
John’s wife, Norma, said, “We were devastated when we found out about the cancer. It was such a shock when he had always been so fit and healthy. He was so lucky to get over it, but it was so worrying. He was so different – he wouldn’t eat and lost a lot of weight.”
Our Wellbeing Co-ordinator Jill Breyley said, “John was my very first client when I started in this role. It is incredible to see the difference in him now compared to just four months ago and fantastic to see how well the new Wellbeing Co-ordinator role is working for real people.”
If you or someone you know would benefit from our support, please contact us.