Please do tell us a bit about yourself
I have been a Trustee of Basingstoke NeighbourCare for the last 12 years. A bit of background about me, I grew up in York. I was a boy chorister at York Minster and continued my interest in choral music by singing in various choirs and have sung at the Proms four times. I attended Leeds University and completed an engineering degree. Following university, I joined Wiggins Teape for 25 years and then became a professional fundraiser with the Fire Fighters Charity and Pelican Cancer Foundation both in Basingstoke, before becoming a Trustee of Basingstoke Neighbourcare.
For those who don’t know, what is Basingstoke NeighbourCare?
A charity registered with the Charity Commission, has seven trustees who are responsible for all aspects of our work. Founded 25 years ago, our Patron is the Countess of Portsmouth. We have a small office in The Orchard (on the edge of the War Memorial Park in Basingstoke) and employ several staff, mainly part-time, who run our activities.
What services does Basingstoke NeighbourCare provide and who do you help?
Through phone requests to our office coordinators, we provide transport for older people in Basingstoke, Tadley and Sherfield-on-Loddon with the help of our volunteer car drivers, taking people to hospital and GP appointments, chiropodists, dentists - anywhere they need a lift. If appropriate we chat while waiting for the appointment and are there to take them home.
Through this service we assist over 400 people with around 50 drivers covering around 35,000 miles each year. Volunteers provide one to one befriending in a person’s home, chat over a cup of tea as many of our clients don’t see many people. As the relationship develops, trips to a garden centre are a valued outing.
Over the last year we started weekly cafes in Brighton Hill, Church Cottage and Tadley attracting 400 older people who benefited from getting out and meeting others for a chat, cuppa and cake, joining in games, quizzes, bingo and musical entertainment.
Since January offering a handyperson service for small jobs in the home and gardening.
How can people get involved? (e.g volunteering/to support)
Volunteering need is for car drivers, befrienders and café assistants. These roles are part-time and our roles can easily fit in with what time you can spare. We note when our car drivers are free, say two mornings a week, and they can always say “not free” if asked to transport an older person. Please phone our coordinators to discuss more 01256 423855. Befriending is an hour a week. Café assistants are needed on a monthly rota, please phone 01256 423857 to discuss.
Tell us about your work/involvement with other local community groups and/or events?
We recently joined up with U3A in Festival Place on an open day and we are the Charity of the Year for the Over 55s Forum. Our team is based in The Orchard where we interact with many charities based there and can signpost people we talk to a relevant specialist charity, such as Alzheimer’s Society, Blue Lamp Trust, Andover Mind, Disability Forum, NHS Specialist Falls Team, Home Library, Citizens Advice, Stroke Association. Three special days are coming up, Awareness Mornings on “Tips on the Cost of Living”.
Our thanks to Peter Robson for this blog.