local charities

South East Regional Winner_NHS_Award

Vaccination service up for national NHS Parliamentary Award after regional title win

The Surrey Heath Covid-19 vaccination service has been named the South East regional winner of the 2022 NHS Parliamentary Awards and is now a finalist for the national title. The award recognises the way different organisations came together to support their community in response to Covid.

The NHS Parliamentary Awards were launched to mark the NHS’ 70th birthday in 2018 and are held annually to recognise the outstanding contribution of staff, volunteers and others working in the health and care sector. Applicants are recommended to Members of Parliament who then nominate one from their constituency. The vaccination service for people within Surrey Heath was nominated by Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath and the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

In Surrey Heath GP practices worked together with the NHS, the voluntary sector and borough and county councils to create a caring, efficient, responsive, high-performing vaccination services. By pooling resources and skills, the vaccination team and the broader support operation has been able to go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure as many people as possible could be reached and supported in the face of the pandemic. As well as providing the mainstream Covid-19 vaccinations, there were special considerations provided to support those with extra needs.

As well as the mainstream vaccination service, arrangements have been made for carers, older people and those with vulnerabilities and disabilities – with information provided to support them specifically. Wheelchairs have been made available and Surrey Heath Borough Council has laid on free transport for people to be able to attend. Outreach clinics have also been held for the Gypsy, Roma and traveller community, as well as homeless people, and additional support has been provided to increase vaccination in minority ethnic communities and for those in vulnerable groups.

Dr Mark Pugsley, local GP and Accountable Clinical Director of Surrey Heath Primary Care Network, said: “From the first days of preparing for the local rollout of the vaccination programme, we have seen some amazing commitment, selflessness and generosity from across our collective team. The Surrey Heath vaccination programme is the work of several organisations and lots of individuals all coming together to support a common goal and it’s remarkable to think of all that we’ve been able to achieve for the good of our residents, in such a short space of time.”

Solette Sheppardson, CEO at Voluntary Support North Surrey, said: “‘This is an excellent example of team work at its best, with everyone coming together at speed in a challenging situation. Many hundreds of volunteers have contributed to this success and it’s great to be able to demonstrate what has been achieved collectively."

The partnership working that has enabled the successful vaccination programme has also built and strengthened relationships between the different groups involved, and organisers are hoping they can use these links to provide further health and wellbeing benefits to the local population in the future.

Anyone who has not yet been vaccinated is encouraged to either book an appointment or visit a walk-in service as soon as possible if they are eligible. More information can be found here: www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/

Loneliness Awareness Week 2022

Tackling loneliness through volunteering

It is Loneliness Awareness Week, created and hosted by The Marmalade Trust. Loneliness is a normal feeling, with one in five people in the UK feeling lonely.

Evidence shows that loneliness can affect people’s mental and physical health. People are naturally social; feeling connected with, and giving to, others is a key factor of our emotional well-being.

The best way to combat loneliness is to talk with someone and volunteering is a great way to do this. We know that volunteering gives people a sense of community and that volunteers experience a physiological response to doing good. Meeting others and being part of a team all help increase people’s sense of well-being.

There are a number of local organisations that are in need of befrienders and other support roles which aim to support people who may feel lonely. Our own Time to Talk service in Surrey Heath has volunteer befrienders who are matched with people in the local community.

If you’re interested in finding out more about volunteering, take a look at the volunteering opportunities on our website or call us on 01932 571122.

If you’re feeling lonely, the NHS Every Mind Matters and Healthy Surrey websites both have useful tips and information.

Drop In service (2)

New drop-in sessions for Ukrainians and their hosts

Voluntary Support North Surrey (VSNS) has launched a new service for Ukrainian refugees and their host families, in partnership with Runnymede Borough Council. The weekly drop-in is held every Tuesday from 12.30pm until 2pm at Revive Coffee Shop, 99 Guildford Street, in Chertsey.

The drop-in gives people an opportunity to get together in a relaxed environment, where they can meet others and share stories, information and support.

At the sessions, VSNS will also get a steer from those attending about what the most pressing needs are for both hosts and their guests, with the aim of working with local services to provide services that meet those needs.

Solette Sheppardson, VSNS CEO, explained, “We know that people are keen to meet fellow Ukrainians but also need assistance as they begin to settle in to living in Surrey, including help with speaking English and getting ready to work. We have developed the drop-in to provide a place for people to meet but also as a way to support them to reach other services. We are keen to hear from local organisations that are supporting refugees so that we can signpost people to their services.

“So far, we have welcomed twelve Ukrainian families and individuals to these sessions and have already put other local hosts in touch.”

Organisations supporting refugees are asked to contact Jo Buckell at VSNS by calling 01932 571122 or emailing jo@voluntarysupport.org.uk

Volunteers' Week is from 1st to 7th June

Volunteers’ Week is fast approaching and this year it risks getting a little lost among all the Jubilee celebrations. It’s well worth putting some thought into how best to say thank you and showing volunteers how much they mean.  We all know volunteers aren’t doing it for the recognition, but a little thank you goes a long way in showing how much they are appreciated.

The Volunteers' Week website is a good starting point for ideas, but here at Voluntary Support North Surrey, we’ve also been thinking about how best to show your appreciation. Here are a few ideas that we hope may give you some inspiration as you plan your own ways to thank volunteers:

  1. Make it personal

Rather than sending a bulk email to all volunteers with a generic message of thanks, try to make things as personal as possible – giving recognition for what they have achieved. If you’re sending a card or a certificate to them, maybe mention the number of hours or shifts they have worked over the past year, or the personal relationships they have built with service users – something that reflects what they personally have brought to your organisation.

  1. Keep it green

Everyone loves to keep things as planet-friendly as possible.  How about planting some seeds in empty toilet rolls and giving volunteers a home-grown tomato plant that is all ready to transplant into their own garden? or a houseplant they can enjoy? We love these personalised seed packets from Etsy if you do have a little budget to burn - but we’re sure you could make something similar for free - 10 Thank You Flowers Personalised Seed Packets | Etsy UK

  1. Shout about the difference they have made

Often volunteers are making a huge difference to individuals, but they may be the last ones to hear about it. If you’ve had some wonderful feedback from your service users, make that the centrepiece of any thanks you share with your volunteers, and think about sharing this on social media too.

  1. Make it fun

Volunteering can be a serious business, but this offers a great opportunity for some fun too. Maybe it’s a chance to create a light-hearted thank you video. Here’s some inspiration from our friends across the pond - https://youtu.be/eCSvXMTe1oY

  1. It’s all in the presentation

You don’t need a big budget to show your thanks. Some careful preparation and something homemade such as a simple paper bag with a handwritten gift tag and some thoughtful words is all you need.  For some ideas on wording or small gifts, look here - https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/280630620521058262/

  1. Partner with local businesses

Are there local businesses that might be willing to offer a small thank you gift for free? Perhaps a local coffee shop is willing to give a free coffee or cake to your volunteers on their next visit, or maybe a sports centre will offer them a free gym session. It is worth looking in your area to see if there could be a willing donor (it might help to raise your organisation’s profile too!).

We’d love to hear about how you plan to thank your volunteers this year and what works well for you. Email us with your volunteer week plans.

 

Volunteer1

Volunteer yourself happy in 2022!

January is the perfect time to set some personal goals for the year ahead and look at ways to improve your health and wellbeing. We’ve all embraced diets and exercise regimes enthusiastically to then ditch them by the time February arrives. How about exploring something that is easy to maintain throughout the year, definitely addictive and brings rich rewards – volunteering!
Many of us think about it, but it’s easy to put barriers in the way so let’s fact check some of the usual obstacles to volunteering:

1. I can’t commit to a volunteer role on a regular basis:

Not all volunteering opportunities require a regular commitment. We have one-off events that need volunteers. Register with us as an events volunteer to be informed about local one off needs close to you. Email jenny@voluntarysupport.org.uk

2. I work full time – I can’t fit in any volunteering:

  • There are plenty of evening and weekend requirements, or flexible opportunities that you can cover whenever suits you.
  • It’s also worth checking whether your employer offers time off for volunteering – you might be surprised how many companies offer this or actively encourage employees to volunteer within the local community during working hours.
  • You could have valuable professional skills that would benefit local charities – why not get involved as a trustee? Time commitment is often relatively small but you can have a big impact on an organization and boost your CV too.

Village Centre Community FridgeVirginia Water Scout leader / helper, Citizens Advice Runnymede and Spelthorne TrusteeEikon Chair of Trustees 

3. I don’t have any useful experience to offer:

Volunteering can be a great way to develop and boost your skills, especially for younger volunteers or volunteers who are struggling to find work. Many volunteer roles will offer you training as part of your induction.

Other roles require basic skills, such as an ability to drive, a willingness to listen but most importantly, organisations need volunteers who are willing, enthusiastic and reliable

Family Befriending with Barnardos, Telephone befriending Age UK Surrey, Telephone befriending in Surrey Heath, Volunteer Drivers

4. Covid is too prevalent, now is not the right time to be mixing with others:

We have voluntary roles which can be done from home, whether that is supporting the lonely with a weekly phone call, or helping organisations with their social media strategy. It can be a great way to start working with a group and may pave the way for more opportunities as restrictions ease. There are also micro volunteering options you can try from the comfort of your own desk/armchair!

Family Befriending with Barnardos, Telephone befriending Age UK Surrey,m Telephone befriending in Surrey Heath

5. There is nothing local to me:

You'd be surprised! We can help you find something that suits your skills, interests and lifestyle - take a look at our website for opportunities local to your postcode or call us on 01932 571122.

Interested to hear more? Register to receive our volunteer newsletter to hear all about the latest volunteering opportunities in your area.

Still not sure? Speak to our team about what you are interested in and we’ll be happy to find opportunities to match your availability and interests. Call 01932 571122.

vsnsaward

VSNS awarded a Lieutenancy Certificate of Appreciation

We're delighted that VSNS has been awarded a Lieutenancy Certificate of Appreciation in recognition of the critical role the staff and volunteers have played in supporting local communities during the COVID pandemic.

We exist to support voluntary organisations, and during the pandemic quickly adapted to support residents and assist the council and health partners with a wide range of initiatives, including:

  • Supporting the management and oversight of the vaccination centres
  • Setting up services where there were gaps, e.g. shopping services/prescription deliveries
  • Supporting a massive volunteer programme and signposting to key areas of need
  • Providing key community insights for local authorities

When the pandemic began, VSNS were able to coordinate the offers of help and introduce the technology needed to manage large numbers of volunteers. The organisation is continuing work to recruit volunteers for six vaccination centres in Surrey to help with covid and flu vaccines. Since January, 1400 volunteers have marshalled at North Surrey vaccine centres for more than 70,000 hours.

It has been a difficult couple of years and the end is not yet in sight. But amidst all the negatives, we have seen the best of people coming together to do what is needed in their communities, to help each other. The voluntary and community sector was a natural place to go for many people, with much of the coordination and support led by local infrastructure organisations such as VSNS.

Chief Officer for North West Surrey Health & Care Alliance, Jack Wagstaff, said: “Thank you, your swift action and continued support with the recruitment of volunteers has saved lives.”

Leader of Spelthorne Borough Council, Cllr Lawrence Nichols, said: “I would like to thank Voluntary Support North Surrey for all the fantastic work they have done to help keep communities safe and well during the pandemic, and everything they continue to do. So many people have become interested in volunteering since the pandemic began and VSNS has done a brilliant job coordinating those offers of help, supporting our vaccinations centres and identifying areas of need.”

DBS

VSNS DBS Process

In order to speed up the DBS process and to give your organisation more control, we are suggesting that you perform your own DBS checks using an online provider.We’ve had recommendations for two online providers below:

  • Disclosure Services (there is a £12 admin charge including VAT per check for volunteers with no charge to register)
  • U-Check (there is a £14 admin charge per check including VAT for up to 50 volunteer checks with a one-off registration fee of £49 plus VAT).

This online route is far more efficient since the application is completed electronically (thus eliminating errors); the identity of the applicant is verified by the recruiting organisation and the turnaround for receiving the DBS certificate is quick (usually within a day or two of completing the online application) although this is dependent on there being no problems with the application at the police service level.

Face to Face DBS Checks

For those of you who wish to continue with face-to-face checks, Surrey Community Action can offer these for an admin fee of £9.60 but you will need to be able to travel to Guildford.  For more information, please contact Amanda Channer on 01483 566072 or by email at amandac@surreyca.org.uk.

Making DBS checks portable by subscribing to the DBS Update Service

Please remember to encourage all your volunteers to register with the Update Service to make their DBS check portable.  This means that your volunteers will not have to complete another check since the online subscription held by the Update Service is updated with any new information.  You will be able to access the volunteer’s Update Service subscription with their permission using their DBS certificate number.  Here is the information on the DBS Update Service for employers.  Please also remind your volunteers to keep their DBS certificate in conjunction with their subscription to the Update Service as this holds the information on the level of check and may be needed for reference in future.

#LocalGiving1

Local Giving - small charities need you!

Christmas campaigns for national charities are in fully swing, but have you ever looked closer to home? It’s smaller local organisations at the heart of our communities that are really making a difference and have also been hardest hit by the pandemic. Now is the perfect time to support them and their users and there are lots of simple ways you can help both up to Christmas and beyond.
We’ll be updating the information below throughout the run up to Christmas. If you’re a local organisation with something to share – please contact us.
Know of something worthwhile we haven’t highlighted? Let us know
Share your shopping
Don’t forget to pop a little something into your trolley for the Foodbank as you start to stock up for the big day. Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath Foodbanks all have lists of items they’re in need of here. But don’t leave it too late as they start preparing Christmas deliveries in early December - click here to find your nearest foodbank
Cards that care
Lots of us already choose charity cards to send out at Christmas, but did you know some local charities produce their own designs? White Lodge, Woking and Sam Beare Hospice and Princess Alice Hospice have a range of designs which you can easily buy online.
Local charity shops also often have a good selection of cards on offer (and maybe you’ll find some bargain gifts while you’re in there).
But have you considered going cardless this Christmas and making a donation to charity instead? Many local charities have their own websites and donate buttons making it easy and simple to give. And there are some wonderful causes – from charities like Eikon supporting mental health in schools to the Village Centre in Englefield Green offering range of services to the local community.
Give a gift that really matters
It can feel nice to give a physical gift rather than just make a cash donation and lots of charities really welcome this.
Just a Helping Hand is a Chertsey-based organisation supporting the homeless. They are creating rucksacks of useful items for those in need including items like shampoo bars, hats, gloves etc. Maybe get together with some friends and each buy something to put in the rucksack. These are needed by December 15th.
The Salvation Army in Addlestone are running their annual Christmas present appeal, looking for donations of new toys, books or gift vouchers for local children who otherwise may not receive a gift this year. You can drop items to the Salvation Army Hall in Addlestone between 9 and 12 Monday to Friday before December 10th or we also welcome donations to our office in Chertsey.
Home Start Surrey Heath in Camberley are collecting toys for local children in need. You can donate at the Entertainer in Camberley or High Cross Church until December 6th.

Many charities create a gift list on Amazon so you can buy exactly what they need:
• Oasis Childcare in Cobham support children in vulnerable situation. They provide food hampers for families, and also look to offer gifts to the children. See their list here
• Hersham Hounds are looking for items to support their work with retired racing greyhounds – details here
• Transform Housing provides housing and support to over 1,500 homeless and vulnerable people each year across Surrey. Find out about their needs here
Or you can simply ensure you support local charities as you buy gifts for others. Shop using Amazon Smile and donate to local charities as you buy – lots of local charities are listed and you can search easily for them here. Each time you buy something on Amazon, your chosen charity gets a portion of the purchase price.
Feelgood festive events
Nothing like a Christmas market or Santa run to get you in the festive mood – just don’t forget to pre-register for these.
Woking and Sam Beare Hospice are combing the two with a Christmas market and a fun run on December 5th at Woking Leisure Cente.
White Lodge have added a canine twist to their festive exercise with a Santa Paws Lakeside Walk at Virginia Water on December 4th.
Or if you’re heading to Guildford for some Christmas shopping, why not combine it with Kelly’s Santa Fun Run at Stoke Park on December 5th where they are raising money for Challengers – a charity that helps disabled children and their families.
Surplus to Supper, a Sunbury-based charity working across North Surrey to bridge the gap between food waste and food poverty, are hosting a shopping evening on 2nd December from 6.30 to 8.30.
Look ahead to 2022
Don’t let the end of Christmas mark the end of your interest in supporting great local charities.
As you look to spring cleaning or wonder what to do with unwanted Christmas gifts, think about donating goods to local organisations. Good quality and new items are particularly welcomed by many local organisations.
Your Sanctuary support survivors of domestic abuse. They particularly welcome donations of unopened and unused toiletries and perfumes.
As you start to think about making New Year’s resolutions, consider giving some of your time to volunteer. There are lots of opportunities whatever your skills and availability – take a look on our website where you can search current opportunities and you can register your details with us to receive regular updates of new opportunities.

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