Surrey Heath

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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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Amigo is a Year Old!

Our Amigo project celebrates it’s first birthday this week. The project has gone from strength to strength in the past 12 months, supporting  individuals in their recovery from mental ill health and managed by Lynnette and Laura.  We match our trained volunteers with people who require support and encouragement to move forward on their recovery to help them become engaged in their community or less reliant on mental health services.  Volunteers help people to make connections with local community activities that will help boost confidence and increase motivation.

The service is funded by Catalyst’s Welcome Project and is available to support residents across five boroughs: Runnymede, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, West Elmbridge and Woking.

In our busy first six months, we recruited, trained and supported a bank of volunteers and were able to start taking client referrals from December 2017.  We now have 36 either buddying or engaging.  Referrals to the project increased greatly after the project’s official launch in April.

A highlight of Amigo’s success so far is receiving an award for New Engagement in the Community at the Runnymede and Spelthorne Volunteer Awards in May 2018.  Three Amigo volunteers were thrilled to pick up the award from the Mayor of Runnymede, Cllr Dolsie Clarke and the Mayor of Spelthorne, Cllr Jean Pinkerton.  Our aim is to have 50 volunteers and 30 clients buddying at any one time by April 2019.

Please spread the word and help us to promote this wonderful project.We accept self-referrals from clients and we are also delighted to take on 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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