Recently one of our volunteers, Rachel Palmer, kindly took professional portraits of the team so that we could proudly update the Meet The Team section of our website, as well as the notice board in the office.  Now we can walk past it without cringing at the terrible taken-on-a-phone portraits that used to be in their place!  We hope you’ll agree that the photos make us look much more professional.

We had a lovely day down on the beach for the photos, it was nice just to get out of the office and all spend a bit of time together – we don’t do enough of that here!



Meet the team: Bob


Chief officer at Totnes Caring and Volunteering in Health

Career to date- what was your route into community transport?

“I joined Totnes caring in June 2010 and also become Chief Officer of Volunteering in Health January 2016; both organisations provide volunteer car schemes taking the elderly and vulnerable to various health and wellbeing appointments.”


What gives you the most job satisfaction in community transport?

“Being able to make a real difference in helping people attend much needed appointments and the positive response it gives to both the volunteer driver and the person whom they are taking in fully appreciating the value of this support.”


What frustrates you most about working in the community transport sector?

“Short time scales when arranging appointments as it does take a lot of work to find a volunteer driver.”


Do you have any Special work-related talents?

“I come from a banking background and understand the need for sustainability for both charities.”


Any words of wisdom that you live or work by?

“Treat others as you would like to be treated and if you can help someone then help them!”


What hobbies or interests do you enjoy outside of work?

“Rugby! Used to play for Totnes back in the day and support them as well as England, Chiefs and Cornwall and any other game I can get to watch.”




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.

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!

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?


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


Gifts in Memoriam

One way of supporting our work is by remembering Volunteering in Health when making your will or by amending your existing will to include a gift for Volunteering in Health.

We do not receive any statutory funding and rely solely on grants, donations and community fundraising. An important way that we can increase our sources of income is in the form of gifts made by supporters in their wills (called a legacy).

Why do I need a will?

When thinking about your will, your first priority will be to make sure that the people you love and care for are provided for in the future. This can only be done with certainty by making a valid will.

If you don’t have a valid will, then the law will decide who should receive your assets (called your estate) on your death and this may mean that your assets are divided in a very different way from what you intended; so it is best to be certain and to make a will.

Although it is possible to make a will without one, it is a good idea to get some advice and seek the help from a qualified solicitor.

Tozers Solicitors in Teignmouth have kindly agreed to waive their fees for writing a will, in return for a donation to Volunteering in Health.

A gift in your will for Volunteering in Health

After making provision for your loved ones in your will, we would like you to consider supporting our work in the future by making a gift in your will to Volunteering in Health. This can be done by leaving a set amount in your will. This gift is called a legacy or you may decide to leave a share of your estate to Volunteering in Health.

It is usually a simple matter to leave a gift to Volunteering in Health in your will and need not be expensive. Just ask your solicitor to include a paragraph (clause) in your will or, if you have already made a will, ask the solicitor to add an amendment to it called a codicil.

Gifts in a will to Charities such as Volunteering in Health can also help to reduce any Inheritance Tax liability which may arise on your death and a solicitor will be able to give you advice on this.

It is often mistakenly thought that a gift has to be for a large sum of money. This is not the case and Volunteering in Health would be grateful to receive any donations, large or small, to help us continue our work and to reach out and support the people in our community who need a helping hand.