As a nation of weather watchers, we make constant references to the state of the weather, how wet it is and being fed up with winter. And yet, spring is all around us if we look.

The snowdrops have been around for a while and have been quickly overtaken by crocus and daffodils, camellia are flowering early and the native cherry trees are a delight. Birdsong has really increased in the last couple of weeks as the days get longer and there is great competition in my garden for the feeders and territories. I hope that you can get outside and experience the emergence of spring, as it is so uplifting and good for our wellbeing.

There are many people who are housebound or isolated due to illness, disability or other reasons that stop them going out and being involved socially or just enjoying our open spaces. Being outside and experiencing nature helps our mental heath and wellbeing, but this is beyond the reach of many people. Sid Valley Help’s Befriending Service visits people at home who are housebound. Volunteers spend about an hour once a week or once a fortnight meeting up with people in their home for a chat. If you would like someone to visit you at home on a regular basis, then contact us on 01395 892011 to find out more.

Many people do not have visitors, other than carers or health professionals. As one lady said to our volunteer, “you are the only person who comes to see me, who is not paid to.”

Loneliness is a problem for all age groups in the Sid Valley and is a priority for Sid Valley HELP. There is no single activity or organisation that can solve loneliness on their own, but we can begin by working together as a community. Loneliness may affect people who live alone, who are recently bereaved or separated, who have few friends, have recently moved here, have a long-term illness or a disability or who have maybe lost their confidence to go out and meet people.

We need more volunteers who can spend about an hour once a week or once a fortnight meeting up with people in their home. In addition, if you know of people who you think are lonely tell them about what is on offer or contact us and tell us what other sort of support they might like.

Please support Sid Valley HELP to raise money to provide help for the lonely and socially isolated. Donation information is available on our website