Volunteer organisations are the life blood of a community, plugging the gaps between health and social care by providing practical support on the ground. But much of what they do is under the radar of most people so it may surprise you to learn that there is an organisation in Bexhill that has been supporting the community for over 50 years.
Bexhill Caring Community was set up to care for people of all ages who need help and support. Today it provides a range of services including transport, gardening and companionship to over 1,000 people every year.
Jackie Haggerty, the manager, explains: “Our main aim is to help people stay living in their own homes and we have developed a range of services which can help them to do that.
“For example, they can call our Dial-A-Ride service whenever they want to go out, whether it’s to visit a friend or relative, go shopping or to the hairdressers. We also have another service specifically for taking people to and from medical appointments, including dentist, chiropodist and physiotherapist.
“We recognise that many people, especially the elderly and those with mobility problems, can become very isolated so we have a number of schemes to bring people together. We run two day centres a week for those who enjoy getting out of the house and meeting others. We provide a hot two course meal, entertainment and transport to and from the centre. This is all run by volunteers which keeps the cost to a minimum.
“We also have a befriending service where volunteers visit people in their own homes to have a coffee and a chat for an hour or so a week. We also work with East Sussex Libraries to provide a home library service for people who struggle to get out of the house.”
Bexhill Caring Community receives no public funding and is therefore reliant on fundraising, donations and volunteers in order to continue providing these services. It is supported by RVA, the professional body that drives the voluntary and community sector in Rother.
Jan Cutting, the Active Communities Lead for RVA, said: “Our job is to provide advice, information and practical support for groups and initiatives that bring social benefits to the neighbourhood. These groups provide a vital service, but they often operate in isolation, often without funding or support.”
To find out more about becoming a volunteer for Bexhill Caring Community or the services it provides, please contact Jackie Haggerty on 01424 215116 or call into the office at 25 Sackville Road.
Jackie said: “We are always looking for more people to volunteer with us. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what skills you have as there are a great many things we need help with – from driving people to the doctor to making tea and answering the phone in the office.”
For further information about other volunteering opportunities in Rother, please get in touch with RVA by calling 01424 217259, visiting our website at rva.uk.com or dropping into the office at 47 London Road, Bexhill.