Basingstoke NeighbourCare Receives the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service
NeighbourCare’s Chair, Colin Hunsley says:
“This is a tremendous achievement which recognises the dedication, excellence and compassion of our volunteers and follows the Celebration of our 21st year in the Anvil in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant and Mayor.”
Basingstoke NeighbourCare needs you!
We depend on our wonderful team of volunteers to provide our service and we always need new ones to assist with our increasing number of clients. We will provide you with all the support and training you need and our staff are available during office hours to give you guidance. We need two types of volunteers; drivers and befrienders. In fact some people do both types of volunteering!
It does not require vast amounts of time to be a volunteer driver or befriender. Our volunteers give whatever time they can. This may be an hour a week or many more. You tell us your availability and we will not push you into doing more. We know from the feedback and comments we receive from clients and their families that our service really makes a difference.
Drivers Open or Close
We provide a service for mainly elderly people, particularly for those who find it difficult to use public transport or lack the confidence to go out on their own. We provide a driving service to pick them up from home, take them to their appointment and bring them home again, using our volunteer’s own car. We also take clients shopping, to social events such as lunch clubs, helping them remain part of their community.
We need drivers who can spare a few hours a week during the day time, any day Monday to Friday, and who have a car that is comprehensively insured and suitable for carrying an elderly person. In return we will reimburse your costs from home; currently we reimburse 45p per mile. Any amount of time that you can spare will help us. You can choose what hours/days you are available and what duties you wish to undertake.
We encourage drivers who are over 60 yrs of age to participate in the Hampshire County Council Driver Skills Scheme. NeighbourCare will reimburse the cost of the appraisal (£31.50) if drivers share the results with us.
Befrienders Open or Close
Many elderly people do not have people who have time to spend with them just having a cup of tea and a chat. You could be the first person that week that they have seen that has time just for them. We need caring people who can spend at least one hour per week visiting one of our clients in their own home to help relieve their loneliness. We try to find you someone who lives near to you, so that if you do not have your own transport you can walk to them. But if you have to use your car or public transport we will reimburse your costs.
What volunteering means
Congratulations to Paul on receiving his 10 year NeighbourCare Long Service Award from our patron Lady Portsmouth in April 2019. Paul has been volunteering for 10 years as a driver for NeighbourCare in supporting the elderly and infirm who are unable to use public transport or have the confidence to go out on their own. Paul has assisted in driving our clients to hospital appointments, dentists and shopping.
Driving volunteer Nikki taking Pamela for regular visits to see her husband in his Care Home"I couldn't do without Nikki from NeighbourCare and so very pleased with the wonderful help and care I have received from all the staff"
Driving volunteer Elizabeth taking Doris to Chineham surgery
Elizabeth said: "I like to chat with Doris on our way to the doctors or hospital there’s always lots to talk about. I enjoy being a volunteer driver because I feel I have helped someone."
Driving volunteer Diana with SheilaDiana says ‘As a retiree, I find volunteering for Basingstoke NeighbourCare is a very rewarding activity. It's good to feel you are helping people to keep their independence.’ Sheila says 'NeighbourCare gets me safely where I need to be'. I always feel safe with NeighbourCare.
Driving volunteer Peter accompanying Valerie to Basingstoke Hospital
Valerie said “as usual NeighbourCare are so thoughtful and understanding and always put themselves out to help me in my many visits to hospital in the last few weeks. I cannot speak more highly”
Special Feature on Driving Volunteer Peter
Peter has driven for NeighbourCare as a volunteer for 2 years. Retirement had been enjoyable, but something was missing. Most days felt the same. One day I spotted a yellow badge on someone in a doctor’s waiting room and spoke for the first time about NeighbourCare. The badge holder was a volunteer accompanying a patient to a clinic at the surgery.
I signed up to be a driver and have since taken clients to hospital, doctor and dentist appointments, coffee mornings and art classes. NeighbourCare clients come from all walks of life and have fantastic stories about life and life experiences. We have chatted about a huge number of subjects and laughed and joked regularly. Want to learn about an unusual holiday? Ask a client. Need advice on a book to read? Ask a client. How about gardening or decorating? Ask a client. Want to know what it is like to live in another country? Ask a client. Music, art, history, politics? You guessed it - ask a client.
Volunteering as a NeighbourCare driver involves only accepting journeys which suit you, as few or many as is convenient. I have taken clients to a surgery appointment half a mile from home, and another from Basingstoke to an appointment in Portsmouth – and many in between in terms of time and distance. And I am reimbursed for the miles travelled at the standard HMRC rate – 45p per mile. So I get an interesting and useful ‘hobby’ that costs me nothing and enriches others’ lives.
Special Feature on Befriender Jane
Jane has been a befriender with NeighbourCare for 18 months. ‘I was semi-retired, with a bit more time on my hands. My children had left home and my own mother had died a few years previously. I had always known that I would want to ‘give something back’ at this stage in my life but was unsure where to start. Then I saw an article in the Basingstoke Gazette about NeighbourCare, appealing for volunteers to visit the growing number of lonely older people on their books waiting for a befriender.
I signed up and, after some training, was ‘matched’ with an elderly housebound person with significant health problems and no near family or friends. I visit my befriendee weekly for about an hour and a half, we share a cup of coffee or go for a short walk on sunny days, and chat about all sorts of things. Many older people have led very interesting lives and have some real stories to tell.
I find my befriending for NeighbourCare very rewarding. We are well supported by our coordinator and only need to commit as little as one hour a week, although most of us do more and some even have more than one befriendee! We can choose the days and times we visit, and be flexible if things crop up. Our isolated older people really appreciate having a friendly face to just sit and chat with them on a regular basis. I know my befriendee values my visits and looks forward to seeing me.