Here to HELP, new service to kickstart fundraising to support Sid Valley

Aaron Clarke and Di Fuller with Councillor Stuart Hughes at the first ever healthy living festival l

Aaron Clarke and Di Fuller with Councillor Stuart Hughes at the first ever healthy living festival last year. Ref shs 16-17TI 9448. Picture: Terry Ife - Credit: Archant

A new trailblazing help service is launching in the Sid Valley – and an ambitious fundraising target of £60,000 will help it operate for the next three years.

Members of the Sidmouth Health and Care Forum are the brainchild behind Sid Valley HELP, which is launching in October.

The new service is looking to continue the work of the Help Link Service, which closed in March after more than 20 years of helping people in the parish.

It will also provide more befriending services and work to support local volunteering activities.

Di Fuller, chairman of the Sidmouth Health and Care Forum, has revealed it is vying to secure £5,000 from Sidmouth Town Council to help kickstart its fundraising drive.

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Mrs Fuller said: “While it is important to consider the immediate issue of Help Link Service’s [closure] and how to support its continuation, it was recognised that other aspects of volunteering in Sidmouth need to be considered, particularly befriending or visiting services. This is the reason for setting up Sid Valley HELP.

“Our mission is to unite and mobilise the goodwill of our community, to support all local residents of the Sid Valley when it is needed most in times of illness, loneliness, difficulty or life changing circumstances.

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“In the first instance we need to get the information and advice that works, we would need a minimum of £10,000 a year and then with the befriending and visiting people, we would be looking at £20,000 a year.

“We know for example there are other needs in the community like mental heath support, particularly with young people and as we move forward there will be other needs as well. The costs will increase and we will be looking for as many different funding streams as we can.”

If the forum manages to win its £5,000 council bid, the money will enable it to hire a co-ordinator and commission a scoping study of the Sid Valley.

At its launch on Tuesday, October 17, the steering group is inviting local organisations to find about the service. The meeting will run from 4pm to 5.30pm in St Francis Church Hall.

Sidmouth Town Council will discuss the request at its meeting on Monday.

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