Swale Community and Voluntary Services
Services for elderly and isolated people
Delivering telephone befriending, lunch club, games club and volunteer transport scheme to elderly and isolated people in Swale
Swale Community and Voluntary Services is a membership body for the local voluntary and community sector in Swale. They act as a support and development organisation and exist to champion and strengthen local charities, voluntary organisations and community groups.
Kent Community Foundation has been supporting Swale Community and Voluntary Services since 2010 and has to date awarded them £41,000 for their telephone befriending, lunch club, games club and volunteer transport scheme for elderly and isolated people in Swale.
They have recently received funding through our Covid emergency funds as well as grants through our Elderly and Isolated and Vulnerable Adults themed funds to continue to deliver a much-needed community response to their elderly clients and other members of the community during a very challenging time.
Louise Johnson, Older People’s Services Co-ordinator, “Our befriending services have had to be adapted in line with government guidelines. Still being able to offer our clients the services means so much to us and to them. They have loved the deliveries and being able to have a doorstep chat with the volunteers.
Our volunteers’ mental health has also been improved by virtue of having a purpose and role to keep them busy. Clients and elderly members of the community have been hugely relieved to know they had support available when needed.”
Mrs U is 89, lives alone and is very frail. She has had multiple falls due to her health and reduction in mobility as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sadly she has no family locally to help her. Swale CVS has supported her in variety of ways including weekly shopping, providing her with a volunteer she knows and trusts, collecting medication for her and taking her hearing aids into the hospital for repair, help to attend her medical appointments which she would be unable to attend in a taxi or by public transport. Most recently she has been taken for her Covid-19 vaccine and to the facture clinic after a recent fall. Mrs U has also benefited from telephone befriending which the organisation started to offer to their transport clients during the first lockdown to help reduce social isolation. One of their new volunteers was also able to deliver her a hamper on Christmas Day through their Companionship at Christmas project as she was to be alone at Christmas. Mrs U said, " I don't know what I would have done without your help".
During the first lockdown in March, Swale CVS were contacted by an 82 year old gentleman from Sittingbourne who was shielding due to his age and health. He needed a volunteer to get his weekly shopping which was arranged for him every Thursday. During the lockdown the client’s health deteriorated and his mobility was severely impacted, so Swale CVS continued with his shopping. Swale CVS has signposted him to Age UK, social services and other agencies for support and offered the use of their volunteer transport scheme to take him to medical appointments. The client lost his wife several years ago and struggles with cooking and housekeeping but volunteers who have got to know him have even offered doorstep cooking tips. When asked how he had benefited from the volunteer shopping service he said, “I am only here now because someone has been shopping for me. It has been absolutely essential for me and I totally rely on this support. Thank you for all your help.”