CIB’s Community Services and Project Team – Our Team on the Ground

Recently we asked – and detailed – what Community Impact Bucks had ever done for local charities in Buckinghamshire. But did you know that we also have a committed and conscientious Communities Services and Projects Team who provide hands on support and work on the ground within the community, supporting residents and community groups alike?

In this blog, we’ll cover the services provided to Buckinghamshire residents by the Team.

Our Team and its small, but committed, army of volunteers offer practical help and support.  Focussing on meeting the needs of the vulnerable and socially isolated they work in the heart of the community.  It’s simple but effective: carrying out tasks that ensure that frail, disabled and elderly residents are able to stay in their homes for longer and feel less isolated and vulnerable.

What is it that our Team do for vulnerable residents? 

  • Gardening and Befriending Service: we provide a range of gardening and well-being services to vulnerable people including older people, young carers and people living with disabilities. Many residents in Buckinghamshire live alone and in disadvantaged or rural areas and are often The free service is delivered by volunteers of all ages, either as part of a supervised team or one-to-one with a client.  We also provide low cost garden clearance and maintenance services.

Last year our gardening volunteers delivered 3,500 volunteer hours – through our direct Gardening and Befriending service supporting vulnerable and isolated residents across Buckinghamshire.

“I haven’t been out since my fall last month.  Looking out of my window into my lovely garden really cheers me up.  The volunteers are so nice and they always leave my garden tidy.  They are very polite and friendly.  They like to have a chat with me.  I enjoy making them a cuppa.  They brighten up my day.” Margaret, 99 years old

  • Buckinghamshire Lunch Clubs: this project is part of a programme to tackle social exclusion among our ageing population – particularly in rural areas where there are few local services and poor public transport links. It’s aimed at the over 60s, especially those who are socially isolated. There are currently 36 Lunch Clubs across the county, run by volunteers in the community, for the community and supported by our countywide lunch club co-ordinator.

 Surveys of attendees of the monthly lunches show that almost 100% say that their quality of life has been improved and more than 70% have met, and spoken to, someone in their own community that they’ve never spoken to before.

  • Handy Helpers Project: this free service was introduced in July 2017 to help elderly, vulnerable and isolated residents maintain their independence and support their mental well-being by helping to keep them safe and secure in their home. Our delivery team take on small tasks and repairs internally and externally, from testing smoke detectors to clearing garden pathways.

    As well as carrying out the tasks that clients can’t do for themselves our volunteers also offer befriending and social support. The project is currently running in Aylesbury and Gerrards Cross.

“I called because I wanted the leaves cleared from my path but I got so much more than that. I did not realise help like this was available… I appreciate the assistance that I have had from the volunteers.” Mr B

  • Community Transport Hub: we deliver signposting information, advice and guidance to Bucks residents without access to public/private transport. Specifically, the service aims to assist those from vulnerable groups who are struggling to maintain independence and who have a wide variety of needs and circumstances.

In 2017/18, over 90% of Community Transport calls were health-related, either travelling to hospital or doctor’s surgery.

Debi Game, Head of Projects, says “We’re really grateful to our volunteers – they are absolutely vital to the success of the direct delivery services we can provide to residents within our community. In order to continue to provide these services, we need more volunteers across all projects – whether it be a couple of hours a month with our lunch club project, or a couple of hours a week with our highly sought-after Gardening Service. You may have all the time in the world or have lots of commitments – either way, we have a wide range of volunteering roles available to suit you.”

To access volunteering opportunities in your area, go to: https://communityimpactbucks.org.uk/volunteering/i-want-to-volunteer/

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