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Annual Report: Petersfield Voluntary Care Group (PVCG) 2014

In case some of those who read this report are not aware of the work done by the P.V.C.G., it was set up in Petersfield to drive local people who have no transport of their own, or are not able to drive, to hospitals or doctors' surgeries where they have appointments. The Group also does shopping for a few people who are housebound and not able to get to shops.

For the P.V.C.G., 2014 was overshadowed by the illness and death of Evangeline Bowen. Evangeline had been for many years a leading light in the Group and twice served as its chairman - on both occasions this was not just for a fixed period of time, but until a successor could be found to take over from her. To the role of chairman she brought her many skills in dealing with all kinds of people and also, in a small way, she shared her artistic talent. For she left in what we could call our "Co-ordinators' Handbook" some hand-drawn maps of areas of Petersfield where there has been new housing development, with all the roads clearly named. She must have explored them quite thoroughly before drawing the maps.

hey are an example of just how conscientiously she undertook her responsibilities as chairman. Not only the co-ordinators (who are members of the Group's committee and thus served under her chairmanship), but also the drivers, were sad to learn that Evangeline's illness was terminal and we all mourned her death in July 2014.

There has been a steady trickle of new drivers coming forward during the year, for whose help we are extremely grateful. Some of them live in Froxfield and they have enabled us to set up a "mini-group" to deal with requests from clients who live in Froxfield, of which there are several. Now we are normally able to link those requests to drivers who live in the same village, which saves everyone time, money and petrol.

As a new venture we held an informal social evening at Winton House in the summer, when new and more long-standing drivers in the Group were able to meet and chat. It turned out to be a successful evening and we hope to be able to repeat it.

Our links with the Good Neighbours Support Service have been maintained, although they have recently had to reduce the number of their employees and re-think the way in which they operate. One advantage of the new system is that they are now holding a number of informal area meetings at local venues, to which local group organisers are invited and can there meet and share ideas with people in similar roles, without having to travel very far.

The year was a fairly busy one for the Group and we dealt with over 1,500 requests. With the aim of handling these more efficiently, some of our co-ordinators are now contacting drivers by email, and a spreadsheet has also been produced, to which the volunteers at Winton House have access, as well as the co-ordinators. Some co-ordinators and some drivers do not have access to email or do not wish to be contacted by that means, but we recognise that the time is coming when the Group's administration will largely be handled by Information Technology. Our hope is, however, that we shall continue to remember that we exist for the wellbeing of our clients, and this concern must remain paramount.

Jennifer Robinson (Chairman, P.V.C.G.)

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