VAC is getting ready for Volunteer’s Week 2018. The week, which has been commemorated each year since 1984, helps organisations to celebrate their volunteers and all the different ways they get involved but also is an opportunity for new people to sign up to volunteer.
VAC operates several projects for volunteers. The Molly and Bill project works with care settings to help to engage them with the local community, supporting them to engage with a range of meaningful activities for residents and create a programme of creative activities for residents to be involved in. Volunteers are a key part of the project and offer one to one support to residents, helping people go out of a care setting into the local community or delivering creative activities in the homes.
Liz North, the project coordinator for Molly and Bill, says “the next phase of the project will be focussed in the Upper Valley of Calderdale and we are looking for new volunteers to get involved in care settings in and around Todmorden. We offer comprehensive training to our volunteers and it is always encouraging to hear that people feel they get a lot out of volunteering with the project.”
Another project VAC delivers is called Quality Voice and volunteers complete a range of tasks to help check the quality of services and give vital feedback about their findings. Some of the checks are done over the phone in partnership with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, some are done online in partnership with Calderdale Adult Social Care and some are done in person as a visit to residential care homes. Quality Voice are particularly looking for volunteers to join the visiting team who will go to residential care homes in the Upper Valley of Calderdale .
As part of Volunteer’s Week VAC will be hosting an open afternoon at Ferney Lee Care Home, Ferney Lee Road, Todmorden, OL14 5JW on Tuesday 5th June between 2 – 4pm. Anyone interested in finding out more about either of the projects or volunteering is invited to drop in to the care home.
The Projects Lead at VAC, Adam Clark, says “Volunteer’s Week is a good time to say thank you to our wonderful volunteers. VAC will be holding an afternoon tea for its volunteers during the week and recognising all the contribution that people make. We are always looking for new volunteers to join the team. We hope to meet some new people at our open day.”
Trinity Fold Care Home in Halifax will be hosting an open day for National Care Home Day on Saturday 21 April. Family, friends and members of the local community are invited to join residents and staff for a Queen’s Birthday celebration tea party at 11am. In the afternoon, a game of Family Fortunes promises fun, laughter and prizes.
Come along, meet the team and join in with the residents – who knows you might even win the raffle! For more information, please contact Trinity Fold Care Home on 01422 350887.
Trinity Fold Care Home has been an active partner in VAC’s Molly and Bill pilot that began in January 2017. Since then, Molly and Bill has helped provide regular creative activities and helped facilitate events for Trinity Fold Care Home to get involved with including an intergenerational project at Bankfield Museum.
The Molly and Bill pilot has been a huge success with the development of a programme of creative activities across 6 Calderdale care settings. The activities have ranged from arts and crafts, cooking and gardening to circle dance, memory making and music therapy. Volunteers from across Calderdale have given their time and skills to deliver activities and spend quality time with residents. Going forward, the project is building on this approach and has been commissioned to work with care settings and communities in the Upper Valley to bring the creativity into care in a sustainable, supportive way.
If you are a member of a community group in the Upper Valley or are interested in becoming a Molly and Bill volunteer and sharing your talents with residents get in touch and together we can make the links. Please contact the Molly and Bill Coordinator Liz North on firstname.lastname@example.org or ring 01422 438726.
Featured in the photograph are: Dawn Pearson (CCG Engagement Lead) on the far left, then the Community Voices volunteers along the front: Sadaf, Fakrah, Shazia, Salma, Farzana, Shumaila and Noor-Jehan, with Zubair Mayet (CCG Engagement Manager) behind in the middle and Rashad Bokhari (HPCA) on the far right.
NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG works with, and supports, a number of local voluntary, community and social enterprise groups, including around 60 ‘Community Voices’.
Community Voices work in the voluntary and community sector and are trained to engage with the local population on the CCG’s behalf. They talk to people, and listen to their views, about changes and developments in their healthcare. These valuable individuals give communities a louder voice and help to make sure that health services are developed in response to the needs of local people.
The CCG, with the support of ‘VAC – Improving Local Lives Greater Huddersfield’ – a local organisation that works with third sector groups, provides training for all its Community Voices. This training helps the volunteers further develop their knowledge and skills in relation to the engagement and consultation activities they undertake on our behalf. Seven female volunteers from the Huddersfield Pakistani Community Alliance (HPCA) successfully completed this training before Christmas.
The HPCA, based in Birkby, is a community led organisation which offers a range of support programmes that help to improve life opportunities for the disadvantaged members of the community through education, employment and active participation in civic life.
The training has greatly increased the confidence of these HPCA volunteers. The women now feel better prepared to engage with seldom heard groups, and to make sure these groups participate in the work of CCG.
Rashad Bokhari, Chief Operating Officer with the HCPA, has a background that includes education, community development, organisational development and people development. He praises the effectiveness of the training and has seen for himself the women’s increased confidence. Although they are HPCA volunteers, the women now also feel ‘qualified’ to be able to represent sections of the community that often go unheard.
“We asked for this training to be delivered in community language and as a result, the participants were able to have a clear understanding of their responsibilities. The benefits of having Community Voices trained in a community language means that we will no longer have ‘hard to reach communities’, all communities will be accessible. The women feel empowered as Community Voices and are now eager to carry out engagement work on behalf of the CCG.”
Any voluntary, community or social enterprise groups in the Greater Huddersfield area who would like more details about this project should email Zubair Mayet, the CCG’s Engagement Manager, at: email@example.com Or groups can contact Alan Duncan, Engagement Lead at ‘VAC – Improving Local Lives Greater Huddersfield’ via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephoning: 01422 431093.
An innovative new partnership has been developed in Calderdale between West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) and VAC. The fire service has been delivering Safe and Well visits to people in their homes across Calderdale since April 2017. These free-of-charge visits involve fire crews identifying potential fire risks within the home. WYFRS believe they’re delivering a quality service but wanted to find out from customers themselves, what they thought about the service they had received and whether they had acted on the advice and information given.
Together with VAC, the Quality Voice project was created and has been running since June 2017. Local volunteers are recruited and trained to contact people by phone and ask them how they found the experience. Volunteers attend VAC’s Resource Centre each month for a few hours to make the calls. The information collected is analysed by WYFRS and used to improve the service.
Martyn Greenwood, Calderdale District Commander for WYFRS, said
“Our partnership with VAC has been a great way for us to connect with the local community through volunteers. The volunteers have helped identify the high quality of our Safe and Well Visits and encouraged a culture of continuous improvement within WYFRS. We are very grateful to our customers and our volunteers for the vital feedback they give us each month.”
Hailey Dundavan, Quality Voice volunteer, said
“It has been unlike any volunteering I have been involved in before. Having WYFRS involved with us so closely has really helped to get a sense of the difference we are making.”
Adam Clark, Volunteering and Projects Manager at VAC, said
“Our team of volunteers are fantastic. They have a professional but relaxed phone manner and are able to connect with people in a unique way to gather feedback about services. The Quality Voice team have learnt some important skills through our partnership with WYFRS, not only gathering feedback but also offering follow-up support to people to ensuring they understand and implement the fire safety advice given by WYFRS. As the project continues to develop we would love new people to volunteer and join the Quality Voice team.”
To attract new volunteers to the Quality Voice project, VAC are holding a volunteer open day on Monday 26th February at the Resource Centre, Hall Street, Halifax, HX1 5AY between 11am – 2pm. Anyone interested in the project is invited to attend; the fire service will be talking about the project and offering free home fire safety information to those who attend. There will also be a chance to find about VAC’s other volunteering roles which include delivering creative activities in care homes, offering a befriending service to older people and mystery shopping adult social care services.