Stroger Kent Communities -won the bid. It has 10 voluntaryrganisations in the Consortium, which include five Volunteer Centres
(Ashford, Canterbury, North West Kent, Shepway, & Thanet ) Action within
Rural Kent, Funding for All, KentCan, West Kent Communities and Youth Central, with Swale Volunteer Centre looking after our accounts. The tender was all project based so volunteering (finding placements for people) was not part of this bid.
Stronger Kent Communities is a dynamic consortium that works across Kent supporting the voluntary sector to make the communities of Kent stronger by:
- Sharing information about events, training, best practice, funding opportunities etc.
- Creating and supporting projects to inspire and help residents to become involved within their communities
- Providing practical ski//s and tools to empower organisations and communities
Demonstrating new ideas and ways of working
- Amplifying the voice of the voluntary sector and representing its interests
This is our first year of a three year contract and we have already achieved a great deal with Funding Fairs, Volunteer Fairs in all twelve districts of Kent, a community caravan that goes to remote villages, training on quality standards for your organisation, and much, much more.
All over Kent thousands of people, like you, are giving their time and skills freely to be of assistance to others , be it for a day, weekly or more often.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for your continued support.
Pauline Annetts C.E.O
Services Maintaining Independent
Living and Elderly Support
Our SMILES programme covers all three of our projects - Befriending, Transport and Gardening.
Using this new logo and the strap line that explains just what our services are for, who we help, and why, has made a great difference when writing to Charitable Foundations for grants.
The Gatwick Foundation, Brook Trust, Lawson Endowment Trust have each awarded grants to us under the Kent Community Foundation umbrella. The Henry Smith Charity has awarded us funding over three years and, of course, Kent County Council and Sevenoaks District Council continue to be much appreciated supporters.
Here is what we spend the monies on:Befriending:
Our extremely busy Befriending Service has been awarded a three year grant from Henry Smith to employ two more coordinators. This service was under a great deal of pressure; we were very concerned about the number of people that we could fully support; and were considering closing our books as we could not cope with any additional numbers.
All grants have helped make a huge difference to us and the people we support. We are working our way through our records, meeting all of the volunteers and their clients, recruiting new volunteers and are now visiting and assessing new clients for the service.
We have 119 befriending volunteers
Looking after 175 clients (1-2-1, Group or telephone)
An additional coordinator is helping not only with the day to day running, but also interviewing as many clients as possible to ensure that they continue to be happy with the service. In some happy circumstances - Do they still need a befriender?
We get a real sense of achievement when a client feels that although they would like to stay in touch with their befriender, who has become a friend, they no longer require the service.
Meet the gang.
From left to right
Sam, Jill, Kirsty, Vivien
Services Maintaining Independent Living and Elderly Support
Volunteer Community Transport:
For over 40 years we have been helping people to get to and from their Hospital or Doctors" appointments. This service has grown and progressed and is now nearly self-funded, due to the annual Registration Fee of E 18 and Administration Fee of €4 per journey.
Our volunteer drivers will take a needy client to not only their medical appointments — hospital, doctors, opticians, chiropodist, dentist, etc., but, also to Day centres, recreational and social events, for 'essential' shopping and to visit loved ones in long-term care or hospital.
So do you know of anybody who would benefit from our volunteer transport servicej which is a door-to-door, wait and return service priced at 45p per mile. The client needs to live in the NW Kent area but our destinations are anywhere in Kent and London and sometimes further.
Meet the gang
THE VOLUNTEER TRANSPORT NUMBER IS - 01322 294 600
Finally our green SMILES is for Gardening.
Jayne has taken on this role for us and is busy meeting with the volunteers and clients. Jayne has talked a few of the volunteers into, not only doing their usual gardens, but
to also take on group gardening requests. This "blitz" on a garden means that we can help a few more clients with their wild, overgrown garden, and make it look reasonable until we can find a regular volunteer gardener for them.
Jayne is also one of our befrienders, and when she heard that we needed a coordinator she was interested. Jayne has been doing this for a few months now and is thoroughly enjoying it, all she needs now is more gardeners. As always, the need for our gardeners is great, and it helps older people to remain living independently in their own home.
Jayne already knew us to be a nice place to visit and work (her words - not mine) and she loves the role; "the clients are lovely and the gardeners are super and very dedicated".
Bluebird Care Assistants spent hours braving the sun to raise funds for their named charity for this year. And that charity is us NWK VC.
In June they spent two days fundraising in Gravesend Town Centre and Dartford High Street in September. Both days were bright and sunny which for this country is always a bonus.
We would like to thank these lovely people for giving up their time to fund raise for us. Here are some of their comments after the events.
"We are proud to support North West Kent Volunteer Centre in 2017 who provide a wide range of voluntary support that includes befriending, transport and gardening services to older people".
As an organisation where our customers all live in the local community, being able to support a local cause is a central part of what we do"
A full total has yet to be announced but it must be between E200 to E300 A Big Thank You to all those who helped
First Aid Training for Volunteers and Staff
On the 31st October (Halloween) a group of volunteers and staff undertook Emergency First Aid training. This was the second of two
training sessions that had been arranged for volunteers to help them in their volunteering roles.
Looking at these pictures I think they were taking Halloween a little bit too seriously and I'm not sure I would want them to bandage me up. Its like the "Return of the Mummy".
Bogus Callers and Rogue Traders
Most people who call at your home will be genuine. But sometimes people can try to trick their
way into your home to steal your valuables and money. They are known as l\distraction burglars" or "bogus callers".
So, Be Cautious; people from water, gas and electric companies rarely visit without ID or making appointments. If there's a real emergency, police and fire-fighters are likely to be there.
Top Tips to protect yourself:
Lock your back doors and windows before answering the front door—they work in pairs,
Use your spyhole and chain and ask who they are through the door first.
ALWAYS check for identification, even if they have a pre-arranged appointment.
If you're not expecting them and they don't have ID—then they're not coming in.
If they leave a contact number don't use it as it may be fake. Find the number yourself.
If you need to get something, close the door until you return.
If jn doubt ask them to leave and come back at a more convenient time when a family member or friend can be with you.