Jan Corke is our unsung community hero for this week - a devoted volunteer with Homecall, the local charity for the blind and visually impaired.
Jan has been volunteering for the charity in Bexhill since she moved here in 2001 with husband Geof.
She is one of the trustees who help decide on the running of the charity, and what needs to be done, and was also part of the determined team led by Jenny Private to keep Homecall afloat when it hit “a difficult time” around 2006/7. One of Jan’s own fundraising successes is the quiz night she holds in January which has gone from strength to strength - this year’s will be on January 30. It’s a flat-out effort for Jan who is handles the food side of this popular event.
“It is a good fun evening,” she said, “But I am in the kitchen all the time.” Jan is also involved in Homecall open gardens, as well as other events during the year. But it is perhaps the effort she puts into her personal elderly Homecall client that is a lesson in care and kindness.
She has been with her client, now 100, for ten years and it is a relationship that has become all-important with Jan and Geof both involved on a deep level.
This special relationship has grown through a shared love of art, painting and classical music, and Jan remembers when her client was still able to get about, she would take her to flower festivals where she could touch and feel petals and guess which blossoms they might be. They also until relatively recently would go to Eastbourne for classical music concerts as well as have trips into Bexhill town centre for a little light shopping.
Jan would also take care of chores in the home such as checking the use-by dates on food which her client could no longer see, and help her with tasks such as sewing on a button or mending a tear.
A fall changed this way of life because it led to a drop in confidence, and another fall then meant the client needed to move into a care home - with Jan and her husband making all the arrangements to make sure this was the right choice, and also taking care of all the practical arrangement involved in moving out of a rented flat into one room. It has worked out better than expected though with the client enjoying new unexpected friendships at the home, and Jan still visiting her twice a week when possible - a tie now so strong it compares to the most profound family bond. “I am the only regular person in her life,” said Jan. “It is very important for her. To be truthful when she sees us now she looks on both of us as her children. she never had any family.”
She added: “I am going above and beyond what Homecall would expect but I am not the only one, by any means.”
Homecall scheme managers Maureen Daley said: “Jan is a very compassionate and kind lady, she’s steadfast and dependable in every possible way. We are so lucky to have Jan as one of our volunteers, not only does she fully support her client, but she still manages to find some time in her busy life to support Homecall as a Trustee, a fundraiser and committee member.”
Anyone who would like quiz night tickets can call on 01424 210358. If you know anyone who gives that little bit more or goes that extra mile please email Camilla Lake on firstname.lastname@example.org