Race Night

The King Billy pub on Northumberland Place in Teignmouth is hosting a Race Night on Friday 9th March as a fundraiser for Volunteering in Health.  The races will start at 8pm so come on down and bring your friends – the more the merrier!  No need to book or buy tickets, it’s free entry and you can place cash bets on the races of any value.

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You may also wish to “buy” your own horse for £5.  If your horse wins its race (a 1:8 chance) you’ll win a bottle of prosecco – not too shabby!!

A huge thank you to The King Billy and to the other businesses that are supporting the event through sponsoring a race:

 

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How do we help people? One example of how our many services can work together to support one person.

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.

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John with his wife, Norma

 

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.

norma john jill wesley
Norma, John, Jill and Wesley

 

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.

Drive n Dine

Here at Volunteering in Health we do many social drives as well as medical. One big project is the monthly ‘Drive n Dine’ event at the Alice Cross Centre. This project involves people being picked up from their home, allowing people with poor mobility to be able to get out and meet people without the expense of a taxi. The clients get dropped off at the Alice Cross Centre where they have a 2 course meal and entertainment. We help at events like this because Loneliness has been linked to cognitive decline.

To us, our social drives are just as important as our medical drives. Many studies show that social interaction can make older people mentally and physically healthier. Social isolation frequently leads to depression and a myriad of other mental health issues like anxiety that increase the amount of extra support seniors need.   By just taking someone to the ‘Drive n Dine’ event once a month you can help lower their chances of dementia and depression. This will also give them something to look forward to. This lowers the strain on the NHS as they will be healthier and in this weather it is important to keep everyone warm and healthy, older people with no social interaction are  four times more likely to come down with cold symptoms than those with lots of social contacts.

Another plus side to social activities is that it has the potential to lower blood pressure and reduce their risk of cardiovascular problems and various forms of arthritis. This is usually because those who are socially engaged are also more physically active and are more likely to maintain a nutritious diet. Social activities can also help people reduce stress and anxiety, which is what ultimately, leads to lower blood pressure levels.

While lowering the risk of many physical problems, it also gives them the confidence they need to be able to get back in to making new friends.

The Alzheimer’s Society noted that remaining socially active may improve sleep quality as well. This is important, as getting a good night’s rest is key to avoiding conditions like depression and anxiety, which people with dementia tend to be more vulnerable to. 

Positive indicators of social well-being may be associated with lower levels of age-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer.

If you would like to come along to any of our social events, would like a befriender, or could volunteer as a driver or befriender, please get in touch!

Meet the Team: Chloe

chloe-skydiveBest known by many for her charity skydive in March 2016, Chloe joined VIH in February 2014 as Volunteer Co-ordinator. As part of restructuring in November 2015, Chloe was promoted to Office Manager, overseeing the day-to-day running of the team, whilst Bob Alford was taken on as Chief Officer to manage the overall sustainability of the charity.

chloe

 

How did you join VIH?

Before VIH, I was working at a social enterprise in Newton Abbot, and one of its aims was to support other lottery funded projects, so one evening I found myself lugging tables and chairs around and pouring mulled wines for a VIH Christmas Event in December 2013. On the night I met several of the staff and volunteers and was really impressed with their dedication to the charity, so when an advert came up in the local paper a few weeks later it seemed like fate!

What do you like about working for VIH?

There is such a feel good factor to this job. Small acts of kindness go a really long way and I see our staff and volunteers supporting so many people week in week out.  It’s heartwarming!  I’m a Teignmouth Girl through and through and it’s a real pleasure to be able to work in and support my own community – not to mention convenient!

What has been your best moment so far?

chloe-and-julie-christmas-visitsMy main highlight has to be one Christmas, when Julie Dingley and I made up a hamper of goodies and took them around to some of our clients to surprise them.  It was the most wonderful day, and its coverage in the local paper really helped raise awareness of the charity.  Soon after it was printed Ken and Sheila Goodsell came in to enquire about volunteering: they have since become our Chair and our Transport Co-ordinator.  At the moment I’m really enjoying working on the penfriendship project with Shaldon School pupils.

What are you looking forward to in 2017?

This year has been huge for me and for the charity. I feel like we are now at a point where we have a full team who are working together really well and enjoying their work, making a real difference to the community.  Now that everyone is settled in I just can’t wait to have a big clearout of our various storage areas!  These are full of things people have donated to us over the years, craft items and lots more – I am hoping to find some real gems!