Make it Thursdays

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.

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Funky Aardvark

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.

funkyaardvark

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.

funkyportrait

Thank you to Funky Aardvark for giving us this opportunity to show the community what we offer.

VIH IS MOVING!

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

Valentine’s Day

The story of Valentinus is not a nice one, but one we carry with us. The story talks of love and loss of a young Christian man who taught a beautiful blind girl the way of Christ. He then prayed with the girl and soon god bestowed upon her the gift of sight. Valentinus was then sent to death but signed his last love letter “from your Valentine.” This story teaches us that we should live every day as though it’s our last and never forget those who love us.

For some Valentine’s Day is a hard time, they remember the love they once shared with that one special person.

However this day is a celebration of your love that has been and always will be. Some people going through bereavement may have a relapse during this period, especially if it was a special time for them and their partner.  But, the key is to remember that there are a lot of people in your life that love you that are still around.

One story showed a man who looked after his mother and father. His father had dementia and couldn’t remember how special the day used to be, so the son would buy a card for his father to give to his mother. The son would then also order flowers to be delivered to the mother’s room as the father had done in previous years. Although from the outside this may look tedious to the family it was a ritual, the love of the parents was strong even when they couldn’t show it.

Valentine’s Day is about love of all types, not just for your partner, this includes friends, family and maybe even your love for your God. If you do feel alone on Valentine’s Day there is a lot you can do, you can do something with your friends, have a family meal or even do something that makes you happy, go to the spa or make lots of cakes and biscuits.

When someone’s partner is either no longer with us or has dementia the best thing to do to help is let them know they have their family. Let them know they are loved and have a network of support to help them.

the future

As an 18 year old, thoughts of what I’m going to do when I’m 80 are few and far between. However, working for ViH and Alice Cross has made me think about what’s going to be around to help. Many people have said that they hope that charities like Volunteering in Health, The Alice Cross and Assist Teignbridge will still be around to help when they get older, and I hope so too. When I first started at The Alice I was a bit apprehensive as to what to expect, but everyone welcomed me with open arms.  As I’ve lived in Teignmouth all my life I’ve always known about the Alice but never really understood what they did there. I was under the impression it was for “old” people. After working there for 3 months I can safely say that this is not true, everyone there is just so lively and full of energy.

While you watch the ballroom dancers float across the room or the eastern dancers wave their scarves you forget about age.

As the population ages, the demand for this sort of charity grows. But we have no idea how long we will be around for. This is why we need people to help volunteer while they can, to help other, and so that if you become unable to volunteer for any reason there will be someone to help you from the start. You never know when you or a loved one will need our services. When you volunteer you help shape the charity and put things in place that will help you and others as and when you might need them.  By giving the gift of a legacy you can give financial stability for us to be able to provide care for many years to come.

Quite often, in this era,  technology is our answer for everything, can’t go out shopping? Go  online. Want to meet someone new? Go online.  As the days go by, more and more tech is being made that can be incorporated in to our day to day activities, but sometimes facetiming my boyfriend just isn’t the same as seeing him. Nothing can beat a good old fashioned hug.

So my question to you is: will technology ever really solve the problem of loneliness? Will seeing a picture of your friends and family be enough?

Fundraising

Recently we’ve had a massive push on fundraising. In October we had 3 different events raising a total of £800! One of these events was the Bronx music night; on 23rd October we invited local musicians to perform their work to us, this raised a staggering £350!

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, playing a musical instrument and sitting

Image may contain: 1 person, playing a musical instrument, on stage and indoor

Image may contain: 1 person, on stage, playing a musical instrument and night

We then had a fancy dress bag pack, considering how scary we looked people still donated to the cause and this raised £300! We were then part of the rotary raffle which raised an extra £150.  We left October and flew straight into November with another bag packing which raised another £300. Then through November and December we sold our Christmas cards and chocolates. This added an extra £1000 to the collection. One care home then had a coffee morning to raise funds for us; they raised £65 for us.  Shaldon School and Singalong Shaldon raised another £600 for us through their Christmas Carol concerts and a “Name the Teddy” competition at the school.Image may contain: food

We finished off the year with one last bag pack which raised an amazing £625 for us! All these fundraisers allow us to support people in our community with getting to and from their hospital appointments and social events. We also help combat isolation with befrienders. In total we left 2016 with over £2,000 being raised in just the last 3 months.

Thank you to everyone who has helped with fundraising – whether you helped with bag packing or popped a penny or a pound in a pot – it all helps.

If you would be interested in setting up a fundraiser please pop in to the office or email the Manager, Chloe, on chloe.myers@nhs.net

 

Meet the Team: Gill

Gill retired from her role as a Community Nurse in 2014, but found that she missed supporting people in the community.  Not long after retiring, she joined VIH as a volunteer, but within weeks we had snapped her up to be our Memory Loss Support Worker.

gill

 

 

I have worked for VIH since March 2015 as Memory Support Worker. In my role I provide support, information and signposting to clients living with a memory problem, and their carers. I help them remain well and involved in the community for as long as possible, which then reduces the feeling of loneliness and isolation that a memory problem can bring.

In 2016 I became the co-ordinator for the Teignmouth and Dawlish Memory cafes. These are run monthly and are social, relaxed sessions where clients and their carers can get together for a cup of tea or coffee and join in any activity that we have planned.

Recently I helped to launch ‘Music 4 Memories’, which involves group singing, playing of instruments and quizzes.

It’s good to see people out, joining in and having fun.