Organisations turn out in force for launch of Sid Valley HELP

Tracey Agutter from Devon in Sight, Mary Trilsbach of Sidmouth Blind Club, Tim Salt from the Neighbo

Tracey Agutter from Devon in Sight, Mary Trilsbach of Sidmouth Blind Club, Tim Salt from the Neighbourhood Plan steering group, Evelyn and Bill Lankester and Emma Donnavan attended the launch of Sid Valley HELP. - Credit: Archant

The Sid Valley’s new help service officially launched this week in a bid to encourage organisations in the town to support its plans.

Sid Valley HELP met with more than 30 representatives on Tuesday to outline its proposals to help the people of the parish.

The service has been set up to continue and develop the work of the Help Link, which closed in March, and is ambitiously trying to secure £60,000 to help it operate for the next three years.

The service also hopes to provide more befriending opportunities, work to support local volunteering activities, and hire a co-ordinator.

Di Fuller, chairman of the HELP group’s steering committee, told the meeting the service did not want to ‘reinvent wheels’ but act as an umbrella service to help residents and organisations.

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She said: “We know the help link provided information and signposting and advice to people.

“They had an incredible knowledge of the Sid Valley in terms of what support was out there in the community.”

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Tracey Agutter from Devon in Sight, said Sid Valley HELP would support charities like hers.

She said: “It is a one-stop shop to find out what is going on. That is the best way to support those who work and live in the area.”

Mary Trilsbach, of Sidmouth Blind Club, told the meeting that her organisation was ‘gently fading away’ due to lack of volunteers and funding.

The club has been running in Sidmouth since 1922 providing a social afternoon for those with sight problems.

The 87-year-old said: “We are gently fading away for lack of funding and lack of young volunteers.

“It gets people out of the house for a couple of hours. Sometimes it’s the only outing they have.”

After the meeting, Mrs Fuller said: “I think there were some really positive ideas and I think people were very positive about the idea of talking about what they do and find out what other organisations are doing.

“People have recognised Sidmouth Help Link did provide something very important, and they want that but a bit more.

“That is what we are trying to do.”

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