Dear Volunteers and Friends

It hardly seems possible that it’s already thebeginning of February and the Christmas rush is well behind us. I have already seen snowdrops and several daffodils coming through, despite the recent cold snap. It has been a busy and prosperous few weeks for us here at Kingsbridge and Saltstone Caring (KASC), with seven new volunteers since the beginning of the year, who we are very pleased to welcome on board.

Volunteer Workshops

We were delighted to talk with some of you at our three Volunteer Workshops which took place on 6 December, and 9 and 16 January.  Thank you to those who braved the wintry weather to spend a couple of hours with us; it was good to have the opportunity to explain our wishes to provide a greater service in the village communities, and how we have changed our assessment processes to give us a better understanding of client needs and goals.  We will be arranging more events to give you news and updates later in the year and look forward to seeing even more of you then.

The three meetings were arranged according to regional areas – Kingsbridge, the west villages and the remaining outlying villages so that locality-sensitive discussions could take place.  We’re aware that KASC at present somewhat Kingsbridge centric and our 3-year Business Plan set out tasks to address the imbalance.  Subject to funding, we would like to have a greater presence in the villages and we discussed how we might go about this.

Each meeting commenced with an introduction by the Chairman, Derek Weaving, followed by a presentation.  Derek and I presented slides between us inviting comments and discussion.  The aim was to facilitate discussion of the points we made and to stimulate thinking and ideas. We also talked about how important it is for us to receive regular ‘Diary Sheets’ (or an email, which is equally good), so we have up-to-date information about when you saw your client and for how long, as well as a brief description of how you spent your time together. It’s become ever more important for us to have records of volunteer interactions with clients and to maintain ongoing information as to client wellbeing.   Please make every effort to submit your information at least once a month. In an increasingly data-driven world, we need this information to prove our worth to partner organisations and as we apply for grants and other sources of funding to keep the charity going.

A common response at the workshops was that volunteers valued being communicated with, advised of what was going on (including staff changes) and had the opportunity to give their observations and views on the Charity. There was recognition that obtaining grants for funding was a major challenge for the staff and trustees.  Although we are OK for the short term, significant funding will be required to maintain our services and to meet growing need.  Several volunteers said they get a strong sense of purpose from their association with KASC; many felt they got as much out of it as their clients.  The needs assessment of new clients and our approach to pairing client with volunteers seem to be working well. Due to the revised assessment regime, we now know a lot more about the needs and frailty levels of new clients. We now need to apply the same approach to longer term service users.

Can you help us?

We have about 90 clients wanting a weekly or fortnightly visit and have less than two-thirds that number of volunteers who are committed to providing regular support.  There are 31 ad hoc volunteers on our books and at present we are seeing reduced demand for ad hoc shopping etc. If any ad hoc volunteers were able to consider seeing someone on a regular basis – perhaps once a fortnight – we would love to hear from you.

Other News

We are thrilled that Thurlestone Golf Club has adopted KASC as its Charity of the Year and look forward to joining with them for some exciting fundraising events during 2019. Equally we are very grateful to Kingsbridge Co-Op in for their support and donation. We have been given financial support by some of our valued Friends too in the past couple of months, some in lieu of Christmas cards and others for helping their families over the years. We are reliant on donations and fundraising, without which we could not continue to provide the support to local people that we arrange.

Dates for your diary:

So, with the New Year, we have started planning our upcoming fundraising events. Following on the success of last autumn, the first will be a Spring Fashion Show at Avon Mill on 3 April at 6pm. We have arranged a private Film Show at Dodbrooke Parish Hall on 3 May at 6pm, details to follow. Further events including a classic car show, a quiz, interesting and informative talks, a ‘cream teas and carriages’ occasion, as well as a sponsored kayak/paddle board/ swim trial round Burgh Island.  Rest assured we will let you know more in due course, and we look forward to seeing you and your friends/family at some of them.

Please feel free to provide any feedback or updates to me or the team in the office. We are:

Jane Bray, Interim Manager – Mondays and Tuesdays

Anne Brunner-Ellis, Charity Officer – Tuesdays and Wednesdays

Rachel O’Connell, Finance Officer –   Mondays and Thursdays

Jinny Robinson, Admin Officer – Thursdays and Fridays

Andy Walker, Technical Officer – Mondays and some Tuesdays

With very best regards,