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Guildford’s Good Neighbour Scheme Run By Volunteers

Published on: 11 Nov, 2013
Updated on: 12 Nov, 2013

Care for Guildford is a local good neighbour scheme, established in Guildford in 1976 and run by volunteers. If you know of someone who may benefit, or would like to offer your services as a volunteer, it would love to hear from you.

careThe charity offers help, mostly for the elderly, with such things as transport, shopping or small jobs in the house. The latter can be as simple as changing a light bulb or hanging curtains (neither easy when one is unsteady on ones pins).

Transport poses the greatest demand for help, lifts to GP appointments, transport to hospital appointments, both in Guildford and further afield and to clinics, such as the Jarvis to see a chiropodist.

These tasks are so simple but for many clients it can be their outing for the week and they will happily sit in a surgery waiting for their lift because it gives them the opportunity to chat or just be away from their familiar four walls for a while. Occasionally volunteers take husbands or wives to visit partners in hospital, especially if they have no relatives living close by.

Flexibility is the key, volunteers can give as little or as much time as they can spare. There is no expectation of a regular commitment, although some volunteers prefer this option. Volunteers are all ages – mums who help during term time, teachers who help in holiday times, people who work part time but still want to do their bit. The largest group of volunteers are the retired and the nearly retired, finding satisfaction in their new freedom whilst giving the odd hour between golf, U3A. holidays, grandchildren, and so on.

Care is run by a board of trustees helped by a cross section of Guildford’s residents. The lynch pin of the organisation is the duty officer, one of a small group of volunteers, who, after training have the Care number transferred to their home during office hours on one day a month to receive requests for help and match those requests with a willing volunteer.

Over the years the charity has been fortunate in receiving a few legacies from grateful clients. In the good times these were invested wisely giving the charity a small income. Now, Care for Guildford encourages clients to make donations, especially for transport outside of Guildford. Volunteers can claim expenses and it reimburses drivers at 45p per mile.

Care has changed over the years but the need for a good neighbour remains the same as ever.

Changes within the NHS have made the demand on its service more important with GPs offering short notice appointments and hospital appointments being at many different locations.

Clients are now generally older than in 1976 and many have little family support during the day. Many struggle, but with a little help, can continue to live independent lives without becoming a burden on their families. When engaged in conversation they will have many stories to tell, about Guildford, how it has changed, or how they came to live here – often during the war.  Care for Guildford’s volunteers say it is they who get the satisfaction and pleasure in making such a difference from offering so little.

If you know someone who could help do spread the word or if you think you could give a little time call Care for Guildford on Monday to Friday, 9am to 1pm, or 2pm to 4pm, on 01483 566635.

Click here for the Care for Guildford website.

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