Help scheme volunteers give up 6,000 hours to benefit others

Ottery Help Scheme co-ordinators Jane Ross and Di McKay with volunteers Peter Davis,Margaret Bright

Ottery Help Scheme co-ordinators Jane Ross and Di McKay with volunteers Peter Davis,Margaret Bright and Grahame and Jill White. Ref sho 06-17TI 6656. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

Ottery Help Scheme has praised its ‘amazing’ volunteers who dedicated nearly 6,000 hours last year to supporting members of the community.

Throughout the year, more than 100 helpers spent 391 hours every month carrying out the scheme’s range of services including driving, befriending and nail cutting.

In 2016, volunteer drivers spent 4,798 hours and drove 49,228 miles to take residents to appointments involving 7,933 car trips.

Befrienders also gave up 651 hours to carry out home visits, take clients shopping and sit in for carers,

One volunteer driver, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I enjoy helping people who need it as I live alone and it makes me feel needed and they are so grateful and love to have a chat with someone.”

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Another said: “‘I am a befriender for the Help Scheme and love meeting people - their backgrounds and stories are often so interesting and they are always so appreciative of my visits - it makes me feel good to know I’m helping.’

The volunteers have also cut 3,640 nails, provided a memory café and friendship group and spent 260 hours driving clients to appointments in the League of Friends minibus.

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Help Scheme chief officer, Helen Harms said the charity owe ‘debt of gratitude’ to its army of helpers.

She said: “Our volunteers are generous spirited individuals who genuinely enjoy helping others to lead socially rich and fulfilled lives. Helping those who may otherwise find themselves marginalised through illness or a lack of mobility is so important and our volunteers help to bring these people back into the fold of our community.

“These services and others make a huge difference to people’s lives and general well-being and we owe a debt of gratitude to our volunteers, without whom, the Help Scheme would not exist.”

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