Helping others can be both fulfilling and fun, says Ron Jeffries of Redbridge Voluntary Care, a good neighbour scheme that has been running for over 40 years and is in need of volunteers in Wanstead.
From time to time, most people will know someone who needs help with transport to a hospital, the doctors, a clinic or the dentist. You may be aware of someone who is lonely, sick or elderly, someone who would welcome the company of a visitor.
You may have wondered if you might be able to help but are unsure how to go about it. If so, help is at hand! And it will be both fulfilling and fun for you, and a lifeline for someone who needs your support.
Redbridge Voluntary Care (RVC) is a good neighbour scheme and registered charity which started in 1973 and offers help to any resident of the London Borough of Redbridge. We help residents in many ways, by visiting lonely people, sitting with the sick or elderly when their carers go out or providing transport for people to attend medical appointments. We also take people to hospital to visit their partners or relatives. This can be a one-off visit or a regular commitment. In an emergency, RVC can get shopping or collect prescriptions. We also have volunteers who are willing to act as escorts during a visit to the doctor or hospital. This can be of benefit to patients who are hard of hearing, visually impaired or just nervous.
We have a small band of volunteers able to change light bulbs, check batteries, carry out small repairs, sort out bills or move furniture. However, what we cannot do is gardening, decorating, regular shopping or housework, or transport people who cannot get into an ordinary car.
At present, we have over 100 volunteers. Some act as duty officers, working from their homes for a day once a month or so. A dedicated telephone line is transferred to the home, taking calls from residents who need help. The duty officer has a contact list of volunteers who are able to assist when needed. When a request for help comes in from a client, carer, Age UK or social worker, the duty officer has to match up volunteers to the request and see who is available for the required task.
New volunteers in the Wanstead and Woodford area are always welcome, and we also need more duty officers. The work is rewarding in that we are able to offer help to those who are vulnerable and who need our assistance. Volunteers meet from time to time to share experiences, and so RVC is also a means of getting to know members of your local community.
Are you up for it? Can you spare an hour or so now and then to help someone who is lonely or vulnerable? If you are interested in finding out more, please get in touch. You will be warmly welcomed.