Community News, Support Services, Volunteers

COVID19 Update

stay at home web

We hope everyone is staying safe and well at this difficult time.

We wished we had been able to stay open and offer a limited drop in service for our most vulnerable residents, but we quickly realised this wasn’t possible. The ongoing advice at present is still to stay at home and only leave it if absolutely necessary.

The NHS in Kent and Medway produces regular updates on the response to Covid-19 and important news you should know about is here:  https://www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/…/covid-19-update-02-ap…

Further advice direct from the NHS can be found here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

It’s important to filter out misinformation. If you are going to share anything regarding COVID19, please be responsible and check it via a reputable source. Many people are becoming more panicked by conspiracy theories and fake news circulating at a time when mental health is already becoming ever more fragile.

There’s a humongous effort on the part of Medway’s voluntary and charity organisations to ensure that vulnerable people are not forgotten, with volunteers out shopping and dropping essentials and prescriptions.

Medway Council has a dedicated site for residents who are vulnerable, or who want to offer help: https://www.medway.gov.uk/coronavirussupport

Stay safe everyone.

Activities, charity, Community News, Funding, fundraising, kent messenger, Volunteers, walt

An eventful year comes to a close

What a year it’s been for us, here at the Net!

With fundraising events, successful bids and an ever-strengthening partnership with Walderslade Together, we’re looking forward to consolidating our offer to the residents of Walderslade and Lords Wood as we enter 2020.

A huge part of our success is down to our fantastic Walties – the volunteers engaged by Walderslade Together who support so many local people. Whether it’s shopping, taking to hospital appointments or just chatting to them, our volunteers tirelessly give their time and energy to making peoples’ lives better.

To say thank you, we held a special Christmas dinner for them last week.

Our Arts & Crafts Club has been given a boost by volunteer Cat, and the new Brainstormz! support group is run by Sue, a dream to make happen she’s had for a long time.

If you would like to become a volunteer at the hub, and start an activity group or support session for something you’re passionate about, drop into any of our sessions, email Jaye via community@waldersladehub.org, or call us on 01634 319633.

To find out more about the volunteering opportunities with WALT, contact Sharon via volunteer@waltcic.org.uk.

A huge thank you to the Coop, with their community fund netting us the awesome amount of £6,378.94, and to the KM Group for their support as Charity of the Year, for the Medway Messenger this year. And, of course, to the Kent Community Foundation for their ongoing support, which culminated in them awarding us core funding for the next three years.

We’re also indebted to The National Lottery and Magic Little Grants, whose support enables us to do so much more.

Here’s to 2020!

Volunteers

Volunteer Anna takes a big step forward

Anna Volunteer

The Net and WALT volunteer Anna Kelly has completed the first session in the Connect 5 ‘Train the Trainer’ programme.

The scheme is designed to help volunteers connect with people and endow them with more knowledge of the issues some may face. It also helps empower them as a route to employment.

Connect 5 is a mental health promotion training programme developed from a unique collaboration between Public Health England (PHE) & Health Education England (HEE). It is designed to increase the confidence and core skills of front line staff so that they can be more effective in having conversations about mental health and wellbeing, help people to manage mental health problems and increase their resilience and mental wellbeing through positive changes.

Congratulations Anna! (And good luck with the second session!)

Volunteers, walt

The Net and WALT volunteer Jean Judge nominated for a Pride in Medway Award

Jean Pride in Medway

It’s that time of the year again, when the people who make Medway better are recognised with nominations in the Pride in Medway awards.

We’re delighted that one of The Net and WALT’s joint volunteers, Jean Judge, has been recognised in the Volunteer of the Year category following her nomination by WALT.

An invaluable resource, Jean – seen above with many of the members – helps with shopping, home visits, taking people to medical appointments and social events, as well as bringing them to the hub to meet friends for a natter over a cuppa.

Jean says: “I feel extremely proud to get this recognition and I thoroughly enjoy doing what I do – it keeps me out of mischeif! I’m happy I can make a contribution to helping people stay socially active and not be left sitting indoors alone”.

WALT’s volunteer co-ordinator, Sharon O’Flynn, says: “Jean was our second ever volunteer and has been with us for two and a half years – now our longest serving. We love her to bits. She’s reliable and friendly and nothing is ever too much trouble. Nominating her for an award was a no-brainer, she absolutely deserves it.”

The awards are now in their 17th year and is made up of eight categories: Charity Fundraiser; Community Service; Good Carer; Green Champion; Health and Hospital; Young Heroes, Sports Coach of the Year and Volunteer of the Year.

Judges including Medway Council, Medway Messenger, Uniper, mhs Homes and Mid Kent College will meet to decide the winners, with the results due in the next couple of months.

Activities, Funding, Support Services, Volunteers

Good news! Funding support received for our Chairobics session

The Hub walderslade chairobics

We’ve been awarded the sum of £1247 by Involving Medway, via the Kent Community Foundation, to continue our Chairobics session on Monday afternoons.

This activity is funded by Involving Medway, an initiative run by Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, designed to encourage people to get involved with and help make decisions about health provision in the area. It aims to help residents lead healthier, happier lives through improved participation in community groups and activities.

Having been instigating new activities to the Hub since her appointment last year, manager Jaye says:

“Chairobics is a seated exercise session we introduced to help people maintain a certain level of movement, without it being too strenuous or too difficult for those with mobility issues. Add to that the social factor and it’s of double benefit to our local community. We’re very grateful for the support of Involving Medway in allowing us to keep this activity running for another year.” The session runs between 1.30 and 3pm.

This funding isn’t the only good news at the hub recently – the Rotary Club of Medway has also awarded us a £250 grant towards practical improvements at the space, located in Silverweed Road shops, and we’ve also partnered with Medway Time Credits, a voucher based reward system for volunteers.

Medway Time Credits are a ‘thank you’ for getting involved in your local community and giving your time in a voluntary way to help others. You can earn Time Credits for all kinds of activities, such as helping run our open cafe or assisting with the activities we organise. You might even have an idea of an activity you can run yourself, with which we can help you. Time Credits can then be spent with many different organisations, including trips to London.

Get in touch on 01634 319633 or email community@waldersladehub if you’d like to chat with Jaye about the volunteering opportunities, or to find out more about booking the space for activities.

Volunteers

The Net Community Hub signs up to Time Credits

We couldn’t operate without a crew of volunteers helping us out – but we always need more!

With that in mind, we’ve joined the great team at Medway Time Credits, so the lovely folk who volunteer with us are rewarded for their efforts.

A Time Credit is a ‘thank you’ for getting involved in your local community and giving your time in a voluntary way to help others. You can earn Time Credits for all kinds of activities, such as helping run our open cafe or assisting with the activities the hub organises. You might even have an idea of an activity you can run yourself, with which we can help you.

For every hour you give to your community, you can earn one Time Credit, which is worth one hour of an activity with any of the Time Credits partners across Medway, London or beyond. Gyms, museums, tourist attractions, art classes – you could access interesting and rewarding opportunities for getting involved with your community.

You can donate Time Credits to someone in your family or your neighbourhood who may benefit from them. You can also spend Time Credits as a group of volunteers or friends. Have a look at www.timecredits.com for places to spend Time Credits and follow Medway Time Credits on FB @KentMedwayTimeCredits and Twitter @MedwayTC.

You can visit our profiles on timecredits.com and take a look at how our earn offer and spend offers. We’d love to see you, so don’t be shy, come in and start earning today.

Resources, Support Services

All I Want For Christmas Is Company

 

The Net Community Hub WALT Walderslade

Volunteer Christina Lee takes a look at the facts and figures behind Age UK’s recent advert and pinpoints why resources such as ourselves and Walderslade Together are so vital for our local community.

In Age UK‘s recent film ‘Just Another Day’, we see a pensioner living on his own and repeating the same routine throughout the year – get up, walk to the store, buy food, watch TV – until Christmas day, which he had forgotten about until he reached the store and saw that it was closed, covered in snow. This heart-breaking film made me think of Bob Geldof and Midge Ure’s Christmas classic Do They Know It’s Christmas? ’, written for the victims of the Ethiopian famine in 1984, and I wonder how many older people in the UK today don’t know it’s Christmas until the shops close. Even if they do know it’s Christmas, so what? Christmas just passes them by.

Both my surviving grandmothers live overseas, and I feel incredible guilt every year that I can’t spend the occasion with them. I find consolation in knowing that they have great friends and other family members to look after them and that thanks to social media, I can video-chat them provided I work out the time differences correctly. But unfortunately for millions of older people in the UK and around the world, who have lost their spouse, can’t contact their family or have no children, things are a lot grimmer.

A Harsh Reality

In an article from The Independent published three months ago, older people report that they are forced to choose between either food or warmth, with many choosing to cut back on food or ‘go for a couple of days without food’ because of the heating costs. With the UK set to see the ‘snowiest winter’ for 27 years this year amid cuts in social care services and inflation in food prices, older people are facing especially tough challenges this Christmas.

According to Kent Community Foundation, the cold winter is likely to have a devastating impact on older people’s health, particularly with underlying circulatory or respiratory conditions, or over 75 years old.

  • Approx. 10% of those aged 65 years and over say they feel lonely all or most of the time – this equates to around 52,300 people in Kent and Medway
  • One in eight households in Kent is occupied by a pensioner living on their own.
  • 64,000 households (1 in 11) in Kent/Medway are affected by fuel poverty.
  • 10% of fuel poor households contain a person over the age of 75
  • There were 630 “excess” winter deaths in the Kent (2014-15) and 312 Medway (2014-15).

[From Kent Community Foundation Surviving Winter]

A Cuppa with Company

Loneliness is the new social epidemic of our age and a major contributing factor to mental health problems such as depression. Older people with long-term conditions like dementia are even more likely to experience loneliness and depression because of the social isolation that the illness brings. Even though loneliness might not sound like a serious illness, when older people live on their own without social interaction, they are more likely to have falls, have ill health, and suffer strokes or heart attacks because there is no one to catch the symptoms. Loneliness can kill.

Of course, loneliness doesn’t simply come from living alone. Even those living in care homes or assisted living facilities may experience loneliness despite being around people and some studies have found that care home residents actually feel twice as lonely as older people living the community. This goes to show that being alone isn’t the same feeling alone. Indeed, many retired folks love the idea of finally having time for themselves after the children start their own families. We should be celebrating independence and freedom in later life by providing the support and resources that older people need in order to live well without patronising them or compromising their freedom.

To ask for ‘help’ or ‘charity’ can feel humiliating and the stigma around old age can sometimes mean that older people ‘put up’ with the cold and the hunger because they ‘don’t want to bother their family’. There are ways to offer support without making older people feel ‘weak’ or ‘useless’.

  • Be a Friend

According to a study of what older people consider a ‘good life’, one of central things that make ‘ageing well’ is relationships that meet needs for intimacy, comfort, support, companionship, and fun. Simply being a friend to an older neighbour and making them feel included as part of the community can make a big difference, whether that is sharing Christmas dinners, going to the markets, or just having a cup of tea and a chat together. Being a friend also means paying attention to their needs, heating, food, access (e.g. icy footpaths) and health, seeking advice should you notice any causes for concern.

  • Volunteer

The Royal Voluntary Service Kent and Medway relies on volunteers to offer support older people to maintain their independence and Age UK Medway has also been running a Befriending service for older residents to help them stay connected with the community. You can support organisations like Involve, who arrange Christmas dinners for older local residents, or Community Christmas, who run Christmas events for the community and provide guidance for those who with new ideas. They also have an events listing for older people and volunteers searching for something to do this Christmas. Contact the Elderly also runs tea parts for older people regularly, not just at Christmas. Or you can check out Medway’s Volunteer Centre to what kind of volunteering works for you. And of course, Walderslade Together are our resident befrienders, running the open cafe all through Christmas week with the invaluable help of volunteers.

  • Donate

If you are feeling festive and generous, feel free to donate however much you can to Age UK Medway or Kent Community Foundation’s Surviving Winter Campaign to keep vital care and support services running. Alternatively, you can send those fifth pair of oversized socks you got from Secret Santa at work to Age UK’s charity shops to make space for next year’s wardrobe for a good cause. WALT also have a Just Giving page set up to enable more sessions to take place.

Other resources

Ways to Keep Active (AgeUK)

Keep Warm, Keep Well (NHS Choices)

Feeling well and overcoming loneliness (Royal Voluntary Service)

Advice for Older People and their families and neighbours (Be Winter Ready)