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Volunteering in Health

Can you spare an hour a week?

Volunteers urgently needed!

Volunteering in Health is a small local independent charity based in Teignmouth, Devon.  We rely on volunteers to support our elderly, isolated and vulnerable people in the community. We provide a very wide range of services including driving people to medical appointments, befriending, shopping, benefits advice, memory cafes, carers meetings, coffee mornings, hospital volunteering – the list goes on and on. You name it we do it to help support and improve people’s quality of life.

Volunteering in Health are calling for people to volunteer in their community, for just an hour a week. Tina Graham, Manager, said “We are desperate for people to join us in a variety of roles. An hour a week can make all the difference to someone’s life. We pay all expenses which covers the cost of running a car. Everyone has something they can give – with the range of services we provide we urgently need new volunteers especially for driving and befriending. With the winter approaching and the dark nights drawing in, many people will not see anybody from one week to the next.”

Claire joined as a volunteer and offers befriending to Edna.  She said “I moved to Teignmouth in October 2011 and, being new to the area and not in employment, I wanted to get involved in my new community.  I was introduced to Edna who I have been visiting for around 18 months for an hour or two a week which fits easily in around my work schedule and other commitments.  Edna, like many people in Teignmouth, had periods through the week where she was lonely and didn’t see anybody and I am glad to be able to make a difference in that regard. We sometimes sit and just chat and have a cuppa and a biscuit, some days we will make cards, something Edna struggles to do on her own these days”.  Edna, 93, said “I really enjoy seeing Claire and look forward to the visit every week. If she didn’t come round I wouldn’t see anyone at all.  It is difficult for me to get out and about, but with Claire`s help she makes that possible.  It’s a real treat”

Malcolm has been a volunteer driver for 3 years “My specific contribution to volunteering is driving people to medical appointments.  Mileage expenses cover my fuel costs and are a significant contribution towards running my car. The patient benefits as they have a one to one service as we often stay with patients therefore we are able to bring them straight home at the end of their appointment without any waiting around.  It is a win-win situation.  I can work the hours that suit me and use my experience of life to help others through what sometimes is a very stressful situation.”

Tina Graham added that “We can always find a way to use a willing volunteer.  We need people to help fundraise, the list goes on!  Do not be shy in coming forward.  You will be made to feel very welcome and will be very much appreciated.  Training will be given and volunteering can be a first step towards paid employment.”

If you feel you can help or want to find out more, please contact Tina Graham, Manager, on 01626 774484 or email tina.graham@nhs.net

For more information, visit www.volunteeringinhealth.co.uk.


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Balloons services are available to all pre and post bereaved children and young people who live in Exeter, Mid and East Devon Districts and who are aged between 3 and 18 years of age. They will have experienced the death (or are experiencing the imminent death) of someone significant in their lives.

Grieving children and young people share their experiences with volunteer Grief Support Workers as they move through their grieving and healing process. Balloons takes account of their emotional, spiritual, social and physical needs.

The children and young people attend school or college in Balloons catchment area. They are referred by education, social care or health professionals, by families or neighbours, and they can self refer. Before the first contact is made, the child or young person will be made aware of the referral, and they must be happy to be involved with Balloons.

It is evidenced that bereavement at an early age can cause many reactions in children, either at the time of the death or later in their lives. Teenage pregnancy, anti social behaviour, and failed studies can be the result of a bereavement which has not been dealt with. Positive and timely intervention will minimise this negative response.

In a pre bereavement situation, before the death of someone close, a Grief Support Worker will ensure that communication channels within a family remain open, and that all family members involved fully understand the emotional roller coaster the child or young person is experiencing. This enables the family to work together through an incredibly difficult time.

About 1,800 children and young people living in Exeter, Mid and East Devon are experiencing the death of someone close to them at any one time.

There are also other volunteering opportunities available to get involved with this fantastic charity.

One young person wrote to Balloons:

I think that Balloons helped me understand what happened and the activities we did were very helpful. I enjoyed the 6 weeks we met for and I found it very creative and enjoyable for myself. It also helped me take my mind off the situation and helped me overcome and talk about it, which I think would help me in the future. Aged 13

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Women V Cancer

In 2011, Michelle Manders, mother to Lucas, was diagnosed with cervical cancer aged just 25.  Thankfully this has been treated and she has now been given the all clear.  Michelle will be cycling across Cuba in October 2013 to raise money for three cancer charities (Breast Cancer Care, Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, Ovarian Cancer Action).  She has already raised £1610 of her £2900 target and is busy fundraising and training.

I am doing a cycle across Cuba to help raise money for the three very important charities that Women v Cancer are supporting.  In November 2011 I was diagnosed with cervical cancer, at the age of 25 this was the last thing I thought would happen!  After many appointments and small operations at Torbay hospital and Exeter hospital, I was told I would need further treatment.  I was referred to St Bartholomews hospital in St Paul’s, London for a much more major and specialist operation – a ‘Radical Tracalectomy’ and also to have my ‘Lymph nodes’ removed.  After a long 11 days in hospital recovering and a few further problems I was eventually allowed home, being told I would receive my full results in two weeks time.  Thankfully on the 21st march 2012 I was told that the tracalectomy got all of the cancer and I was cancer free and could finally get on with my life and no more treatment was needed, just regular check ups.

Michelle on her wedding day

Following this, I went to Paphos in Cyprus in September last year and married my husband, who has been there for me throughout all of this.  I’m now enjoying spending lots of quality time with my little boy, Lucas.  Everything I have been through in the last 18 months has inspired me to do something to help these well deserved charities in raising money to help people like myself and also people less fortunate then me who require more treatment.
To support my fitness throughout my training I have been going to a military bootcamp class. ‘Phys Group’ run various levels of bootcamp classes and I often do most of them to try to build up my fitness ready for Cuba!  Physgroup ethos is to provide fun, social, interactive and effective outdoor military fitness suitable for all abilities.  For class times and more information please visit phys bootcamp or phys walk.

You can support Michelle and make a donation to Women V Cancer through Michelle’s page on Just Giving.

We wish you the very best of luck in Cuba Michelle!

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