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Social Concerns Group, Petersfield

Notes on Pact Social Concerns Group held at The Salvation Army Hall on Mon 11th March 2013 at 10am

Present: Hilary Bonney (Chair), Sue Bone, Joanna Fells, Pippa Collingwood , Brian Edwards, Judith Peake, Linda Read, Christine Tully. Terry Thraves was present for his presentation. Pippa opened the meeting with prayer.

1 Befriending
Terry Thraves was invited to share with us his experience of the East Hampshire Advocacy Scheme (E.H.A.S) Befriending Scheme. This operates from the Tilmore Centre, 1 Tilmore Rd. It seeks to help older people and those with learning disabilities. Those using the scheme are referred to as partners.

The scheme offers supportive and reliable relationships through volunteer befrienders to partners who may otherwise be lonely or socially isolated. As far as possible, volunteers are matched with partners who have similar interests. Chrissie May, the person in charge, accompanies the volunteer on the first visit. Afterwards, what kind of activities are shared together and the frequency of the visits are arranged by mutual consent. Terry is an ‘official’ befriender; he underwent training and also had a CRB check. He has been partnered with elderly gentlemen but also visits other elderly people, including neighbours. He noted that many Christians visit and help the elderly as part of their Christian compassion without going through the bureaucracy involved in the scheme. However the scheme does offer insurance cover! It also may enable people not known to church members to receive help.

Pippa reported that she visited several lonely people in her rural community. It was noted that the scheme did extend to the rural areas around Petersfield. Brian noted that clients of the food bank could, if appropriate, be pointed towards the scheme. He also commented that the Salvation Army can help many people who will not contact anything arranged by social services. Partners with learning disabilities may be interested in the Prospects group. Home Start Butser also deals with loneliness and isolation. Leaflets about the scheme were given out so that our churches could be informed.

Terry asked how we on the social concerns group knew what the needs in the community were. Brian said that the Salvation Army was well placed to know many needs and other members of the group were also in touch with what goes on in the community.

2. Loneliness and Isolation, especially in rural communities
Hilary reported on the AGM of Community First which she attended on 13th November 2012. This was followed by an Interagency Forum to discuss the question “ How can we address social isolation and loneliness within older populations in East Hampshire?”

Mary Mitchell, the co-ordinator of the GNSS (Good Neighbours Support Service), said ‘ Good Neighbours groups are there for people who may not have anyone else to give them a bit of help’. A solitary person may be lonely, have low self worth and lack social connections. There is a need to ‘tap into’ people and possibly contact Adult Services.

GNSS is funded by the NHS, HCC and Portsmouth Diocese – but the basis is secular! Funds are needed for Public Liability Insurance, CRB checks, sustainability, and provision of a co-ordinator of the volunteers. The role of GNSS is to set up, sustain and develop Good Neighbour groups, each of which is independent. There are 120 groups with 3,628 volunteers, representing many people doing good work in Hampshire.

The need for GNSS and GN groups is being addressed by:- showing funders their impact, giving groups information on different generations (eg 23% of rural populations are retired compared with 18% in urban areas) and by emphasising the enjoyment of volunteering.

Those in rural communities may have particular problems with a) lack of transport/high cost of transport; access to shops and medical services. b) changing housing needs as they grow older. c) social care. Older people need increased support from the community and voluntary groups. Many do not have family close to home.
It is possible to meet these needs because 30% of the population are prepared to take part in voluntary work.
Lady Neuberger commented that older people ‘are not dead yet’!! Factors contributing to well being of older people include:- a feeling that you are contributing to society, being safe, have self worth, are still learning, being connected with others. We need to remember that ‘one size does not fit all’.

Good Neighbour groups known to members of our Social Concerns Group.

  • In Broughton a group set up by a retired solicitor drives people to hospital, and undertakes work in the village such as clearing snow.
  • The Voluntary Care Group in Petersfield, operating from Winton House, was set up as a Good Neighbour Group. The need for hospital/doctor/ dentist/ transport has somewhat overshadowed other activities, but it is still very active in doing shopping/taking elderly people shopping and will take older people to visit friends and relatives in hospitals, care homes etc.

This could perhaps be linked to a Good Neighbour scheme.

Pippa noted that village parish magazines, distributed to every home, contained details of essential services.

3. Food Bank
The inspection by EHDC Food Standards Agency took place on 14th Feb 2013 and the food bank was awarded Very Good rating 5. The certificate will be displayed in the salvation Army Hall.

Linda and Brian will attend the EHDC AGM on Mon 11th March afternoon to give a short talk on the Food Bank and to receive a cash donation and food items contributed by the staff.

In addition to donations of food, several individuals and groups give cash donations so that food items (to make up a balanced diet) and gift cards can be purchased. Since the last meeting cheques had been received from St Mary Magdalen and the Radian Staff Social Group. One individual makes a regular monthly donation through the bank (PACT) account. Brian sells near to date items and raised £13.00. He had purchased £150 worth of gift vouchers, issued £85 worth and had £200 remaining. There was £69.69 cash in hand and £1,761.53 in the PACT account.

NEEDED FOOD ITEMS: Include tins of spaghetti and rice, sauces(pasta and Bolognese), long life milk and dried milk, tins of meat, meat stew, meat balls, pies; sugar and sponge puddings.

NOT NEEDED at the moment. Tins of beans, tins of soup, packets of pasta.

FOOD ISSUES Since the last meeting there had been:

32 issues of food helping 42 adults and 26 children.

These issues were initiated by:

  • Drum/Radian 10;
  • C.A.B. 3;
  • Salvation Army. 8;
  • Sure Start 5;
  • Home Start 3;
  • Tree tops 2;
  • Life church (Pippa) 1.

There had been 409 issues since September. 2010 helping 595 adults and 443 children. There was a slight reduction in clients since the opening of the food bank in Liss, but clients from Liss still came on the days that their food bank was not open!

4. Chaplaincy

The training of a new group of chaplains had been completed. Pippa was among their number and she hoped to operate in the Farmer’s market and Swan surgery.

5. Christmas Lunch Finances

Donations had continued to be received with the result that the expenses of £367.91 were now fully covered by donations of £378.50. We had not yet received the money from the Waitrose green token scheme. Katie was following this up. The cheque from Waitrose would be made out to Petersfield Area Churches Together. This would be banked and used for the 2013 Christmas lunch!

6. Dates of next meetings 20th May, 15th July, 16th September 10am-11.30am Salvation Army Hall. We then closed in prayer.

 

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