Spelthorne

open for business (1)

Open for Business

Many of our local charities have a new ‘normal’ – adapting their existing services so they can be accessed virtually and creating new online services for their users.

It may look different, but they are still there to help and still able to offer support to our community.

We’ve been talking to local charities who are ‘open for business’ and finding out how they have changed and adapted. Take a look at what the Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath groups are doing.

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Don’t Stop Fundraising!

Charities still need to raise money – incomes have been drastically hit but the demand for services are increasing.

  • Go digital – over the last few years I’ve encouraged you to introduce digital fundraising as part of your fundraising strategy. Now more than ever your website should reflect what your charity is doing in the community, with good news stories of business as usual or how your services have evolved because of COVID. Use all the avenues available via links from your website – donation pages, Facebook donate, Instagram donate, Amazon Smile and charity shopping fundraising sites such as EasyFundraising.  Hold virtual events using video conferencing platforms such as Zoom or Google Hangouts Meet or virtual sporting events using sports platforms such as Strava.
  • Get personal – use this time to send direct personalised messages to your existing supporters and tell them what the pandemic means for your charity in terms of your finances, delivering your services, beneficiaries, staff and volunteers. Ask your trustees to talk directly to your funders to ensure they are aware of your financial situation, they may be in a position to extend your funding or help you reapply for different streams.
  • This is an emergency – if you are in real trouble, now is the time to tell your supporters and community that you will not survive without their support. Highlight what closure will mean for your beneficiaries – now is the time for an emergency appeal. To avoid saturation and donor fatigue why not think about having a joint campaign with other local charities.

COVID is not going to be over – even after lockdown is lifted. The emotional fallout will impact on the community for years to come. Fundraising will not be the same and we will all have to learn new skills to survive.

https://www.strava.com/

https://charitydigital.org.uk/topics/topics/the-best-online-fundraising-platforms-for-charities-5324

https://fundraising.co.uk/2020/03/30/virtual-fundraising-ideas-during-the-coronavirus-lockdown/

https://www.techradar.com/uk/best/best-video-conferencing-software

 

 

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Always looking on the bright side of life ….

Under Covid-19 lockdown the voluntary landscape changed dramatically almost overnight. But despite the necessary suspension of face-to-face services, community spirit has fought back – and improvised. With fantastic new Covid-19 support groups being set up in most areas to localise help with shopping and prescriptions, many of the established voluntary groups have also revamped their offer through both online and telephone contact.

Camberley Care for example was forced to cease its neighbourhood driving service as a precautionary measure for its volunteers’ wellbeing but instead has organised its team to support all regular clients by ensuring they receive friendly chats each week and are linked up to Surrey Heath Prepared, the new Covid-19 hub across the borough.

Another inspirational story is Surrey Heath Age Concern which has similarly set up a support network for its regulars with their befrienders continuing to maintain contact with their clients over the phone with friendship and practical essentials. Staff are also working in partnership with Surrey Heath Prepared to combat loneliness through telephone befriending.

The Time to Talk befriending service that normally offers visits to anyone over 18 has adopted a similar strategy moving to telephone and online calls to keep in touch. Elaine Hawes, the Time to Talk manager, says:  “I am really proud of our volunteer befrienders who have continued to support the people they usually visit with phone calls and text messages and with practical things such as collecting shopping and prescriptions. They have been such a source of support at a difficult time”.

In Lightwater the Lightwater Resilience Plan grew out of a merge between the already existing, successful LIVE group and Windlesham Parish Council. One of the group leaders Windsor Rackham said “We have pulled together over 300 volunteers to make contact with, and look after, all 2700 households in Lightwater with shopping, prescription collection, and helping to resolve all the many issues surrounding self-isolation and long periods of quarantining”.  LRP have linked to Surrey Heath Prepared for the duration of the corvid-19 pandemic in order to access their food bank facility and the security checks on new volunteers, demonstrating the power of combining voluntary resources at this difficult time.

With Covid-10 support groups being overwhelmed by offers of volunteers we can only hope that after coronavirus is past, every cloud really does have a silver lining and this revived community spirit will carry on.

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Donate to foodbanks in Runnymede, Spelthorne and Surrey Heath

Local foodbanks need your support with donation of non-perishable food or a financial donation.

Runnymede: 

Runnymede Foodbank

Food donations to any of the food bank centres or at 95, Guildford Street, Chertsey.

Make a financial donation via their Virgin Money page link on the Runnymede Foodbank website.

Spelthorne:

Community Foodbank – Sunbury and Shepperton:

Food donations to Saviours Church, 205 Vicarage Rd, Sunbury-on-Thames TW16 7TP.

Contact: Claire Hopkins on 07549 953161 or at claire.hopkins@stsaviourssunbury.org.uk

Make a financial donation to the Community Foodbank on the St Saviour’s Sunbury Community Foodbank website

Manna Foodbank

Food donation points https://www.mannafoodbank.co.uk/where_to_donate_

Contact: Jean Pinkerton on 07770 478778 or info@mannafoodbank.org.uk

Make a financial donation to (please ensure your donation is referenced ‘Foodbank’ or ‘Manna Foodbank’):

HSBC Walton on Thames,
PCC of St Mary & St Peter
sort code 40-45-22
acc number 71797743

Stanwell Foodbank 

Donations of food to the The Pavilion, Cambria Gardens, Stanwell, TW19 7ER

Contact Anna-Marie Goodacre on 07429 584286 or info@stanwellfoodbank.org.uk

The Salvation Army – Ashford

Donations to be placed by the main door at the Community Centre, Woodthorpe Road, Ashford, TW15 3HY.  Food bank opening hours 9am – 12 midday from Monday to Friday.

Contact : Cath Maughan on 01784 423424 or staines@salvationarmy.org.uk

Financial donations by cash and cheque should be sealed in an envelope and posted through the letterbox. Anyone requiring a receipt should include their name and address in the envelope.

Surrey Heath:

Besom Food Bank

Non perishable food donations to High Cross Church, Knoll Rd, Camberley GU15 3SY

Financial donations via the Surrey Heath COVID-19 Hub – details for this are on the High Cross Church Camberley website.

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Runnymede and Spelthorne Volunteer Awards 2019

Congratulations to all the nominees and winners of the Runnymede and Spelthorne Volunteer Awards held at Royal Holloway University of London on Tuesday 4th June.

It was a wonderful evening, with awards presented by the mayors of Runnymede and Spelthorne, celebrating the hard work and dedication of the volunteers in our community.

The winners are:

Lifetime Achievement in Volunteering

Mary Jeffrey, The Community of Stanwell

Inspirational Volunteer Award

James Brian, 1st Englefield Scouts

Individual Volunteer Achievement Award

Terri Pilgrem, Queen Mary Sailability

Supporting Individuals in Need

Malcolm and Julie Lee, Heathrow Special Needs Farm

Long Service Award

Anne Prevost, Elmbridge and Runnymede Talking Newspaper

Young Volunteer Award

Lewis Fitch, 3rd Ashford Scouts

Courtney Green, Contact the Elderly Tea Party

Best Volunteer Team

Egham Constellations

The Penrose Club

Digital Support Award

Richard Howles, Elmbridge and Runnymede Talking Newspaper

Volunteering in Sport Award

Ken Halse,

Staines Town Juniors Football Club

Engagement in the Community Award

Anna-Marie Goodacre

 

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Amigo Success!

We are delighted with the success of our Amigo project and wanted to share with you the story of one client who has had a positive experience.

‘We received a referral for an individual who was suffering from anxiety and seeking support to go out and attend community activities. She felt isolated during the day as she does not work. Overall, this lady has a good support network but needed extra help to boost her confidence and increase her motivation to leave the house.  We matched this client with a volunteer who agreed to accompany her to attend a weekly support group.  As this individual was not comfortable travelling independently, the volunteer buddy arranged to meet her at the end of the road and accompany her to the group.  We matched the individual with a volunteer who had had a similar experience and had attended the same support group.  The client’s increased confidence encouraged her to try a different social group and enabled her to travel there by bus.  “The best thing about Amigo was being able to find a group where I felt I fitted in.  This has helped me to feel less isolated”.

It’s been really encouraging for our team and volunteers to have such positive outcomes and we really believe Amigo is making a difference to people’s lives in North Surrey so if you know of anyone who might benefit from an Amigo buddy or alternatively if you would like to volunteer to become a buddy, then please get in touch with Laura or Lynnette on 01276 707565 or email buddy@voluntarysupport.org.uk

 

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Christmas Fundraising Campaigns

It’s official! People give more to charities at Christmas – CAF research suggests a total amount donated for 2017 of £10.3 billion with the highest month of giving in December.

The urgency of Christmas is an ideal way to connect with your supporters and encourage them to engage in as many ways as possible: volunteering, campaigning, fundraising and attending events, via email and phone. It’s also a great way to reach new supporters, so if you are planning a Christmas campaign, take a look at these practical tips from experienced fundraisers.

You need to be clear about what it is that you want to get from a Christmas campaign. Whether it’s fundraising or recruiting volunteers, getting your message right before you start with campaign mechanics is important. Show why you need support particularly at this time of year. Tell real stories (from last year) about the problems your organisation solved and what difference donations made to people’s lives. Making your Christmas story impactful is crucial – tell your audience what the problem is an how you are fixing it with their help – have a look at how to tell your fundraising story for practical tips and a template.

Now you must decide which channels to use. Websites should be the centre of any fundraising campaign, with the campaign stories (updated weekly) and clear instructions on how to donate and how a donor can make a difference. Post every day on Twitter and Facebook in December and make your tweets and posts count by using actual photos of your beneficiaries or better still – moving images – GIFs or video. Creating video using your phone has never been easier with lots of information on YouTube and the internet on how to do it. We’ve been using a tool called Lumen5 and also Facebook stories to create little videos – if we can do it you can too!

24 days of content for website and social media is daunting but if you write a content plan and use a scheduling tools like Hootsuite or TweetDeck you’ll find sending multiple messages across different channels much easier. Be imaginative with snippets of information, personal stories, New Year plans and resolutions, reflections on the year past and a donation count of how much you have raised so far. Get inspiration from fundraising blogs

For email campaigns, keep the message succinct and poignant; try for 250 words or less. Weekly updates on a shorter message can keep the momentum more effectively than a single lengthy email. Try to personalise if you can to stand out from other Christmas appeals. Email subjects are just as important – avoid the spam filter by not using language like ‘free’, capitalised words or exclamation marks and remember only to send to those who have given permission.

And most importantly, make it easy to give. Bold and hyperlink key phrases and sentences to your website donation button. It’s crucial to have a seamless donation process in place —don’t make your willing donors work hard just to give you money. This process needs to be mobile friendly too, or you’re leaving money on the table.

Finally, keep one thing at the front of your mind: this time of year needs to be all about your donors so remember to tell them how the campaign went and to THANK them for their donations and support.

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Amigo Client Success Story

We are delighted to report that our Amigo project has another client who has completed the buddying process!

At the beginning of the project they felt extremely isolated and anxious but after nearly six months of buddying, now experience newfound confidence through attending Oakleaf with their buddy. Oakleaf offer a range of social inclusion activities that cater towards building confidence, physical health and wellbeing and our client and buddy enjoyed taking part in well-being walks and tai chi.

The positive impact of the project has resulted in such an improvement that our client now wants to volunteer with Amigo to help others in their journey of recovery and will start his training in September.  This is a marvelous outcome for Amigo and an extremely rewarding result for all those involved.

World Mental Health Day on the 10th of October raises awareness of this important and growing issue and you can help people recover and be part of their community again by becoming an Amigo buddy. Please spread the word and help us to promote this wonderful project. We accept self-referrals from clients and we are also delighted to recruit and train new volunteers.

If you have any queries or questions about Amigo, please contact either Lynnette or Laura on 01276 707565 or email us at buddy@voluntarysupport.org.uk.

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