Home visits and cover support
Visits from a befriender to isolated, housebound people are one of our most requested services. Lack of affordable housing in Islington and Clerkenwell has led to family and friends often having to move away from the area, so that a volunteer may well end up being the most consistent individual in a housebound person’s life.
Volunteer visitors offer the kind of social, emotional and practical support that the situation demands.
The Finsbury & Clekenwell Volunteers also provide a respite service for those families who need a break from caring for their dependent relatives. Volunteers may escort them out or support them at home, providing time and space for the main carer.
The Telephone Club
The Telephone Club has been in existence almost as long as the group itself and offers an effective and valuable link to isolated or housebound people.
The Telephone Club volunteers come into the office several mornings a week to make calls in rotation to the current members.
Regular outings are arranged on a similar rotation basis and members are sent birthday and seasonal greetings cards.
We have an accessible transport project. The two ambulances cover more than 12,000 miles per year, overcoming the mobility problems faced by many of our clients.
Transport is a vital connection in enabling them to maintain links with the outside world. The vehicles are used for virtually all our activities.
The Lunch Club
The Vibast Centre near Old Street station is home to the volunteers’ lunch and social club. The club is staffed solely by volunteers. It remains self-financing.
The club has a distinctive and friendly atmosphere as a result of its ‘non-clique’ policy. It has a high helper/user ratio, meaning that members get attentive and supportive service from the team of volunteers based there. The commitment of the team means that, despite many unforeseen problems, lunch has never had to be cancelled throughout its entire history.
Assisted shopping trips to local supermarkets and shopping centres take place on most Wednesdays throughout the year.
Finsbury & Clerkenwell Volunteers recognise the value of holidays in improving quality of life, particularly for those who have become isolated or housebound as a result of disability. Our feedback has shown that the ‘holiday effect’ begins when the holiday is booked and people start looking forward to the break. Memories of having a happy holiday continue the effect for weeks afterwards.
In 1998, funds were raised for an accessible holiday home, which we saw as a useful resource for a holiday project. The eight-berth mobile home at Steeple Bay, near Malden in Essex, has proved very popular as a restful, waterside location. It is only 50 miles from London, which means we have been able to offer many therapeutic day trips as well as our longer stays.
Many referrals for practical tasks are often received. These might include taking down and re-hanging curtains, securing shelves, replacing fluorescent lights etc.
We have built up a useful collection of DIY and gardening equipment, which enables us to carry out small maintenance, decorating or gardening jobs that fall outside of local authority provision.