Wednesday, 19 November 2014 00:00

Could you support a friend in need

Written by  Sonia Marshall
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Could you support a friend in need

As the weather gets colder and the nights darker, many Norfolk residents run the risk of loneliness and isolation, especially if they suffer from a long-term health condition that prevents them getting out and meeting other people. So, in the run-up to Christmas, Voluntary Norfolk is once again activating its ‘Friend in Need’ campaign, this time across North Norfolk and rural Broadland, and is keen to hear from people who would be able to give a little time to make a positive difference to the lives of others.

Voluntary Norfolk’s North Norfolk Health Volunteers scheme, run in partnership with North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), is looking for volunteers to visit people in their own homes, where activities may involve sharing a coffee and chat, assisting people with practical or health-related activities, helping someone to get ‘out and about’ or enabling relatives or carers to have a much-needed break.

‘Volunteers do not replace the care of NHS or Social Services staff, nor the support of family members, ‘says Jonny Wood, Senior Co-ordinator for the scheme, ‘but they bring something very special. They choose to give their time and talents, and that is deeply appreciated by those they visit. An hour or so a week can make a tremendous difference, not only to the person receiving the visit, but to the volunteers themselves! So it’s very much a two-way relationship’.

Potential volunteers firstly meet with Voluntary Norfolk co-ordinators to discuss their interests, and, following completion of the application and induction process, are carefully matched with a suitable person to visit. Regular training and support is available, but volunteers are not expected to deliver any personal or medical care nor incur any costs. Visiting arrangements can formally last up to 18 months, but many long-term friendships have developed as a result.

 “Many of our volunteers get involved because they want to make a difference to their communities, meet new people or even explore a new career direction” says fellow co-ordinator Natalie Hickman, “They are of all ages, interests and backgrounds. So we would be delighted to hear from everyone who is interested in finding out more. Even if you are not sure how much time you have to spare, we can find the opportunities for you to make a difference.”

Jonny and Natalie anticipate that demand for the service will increase as the cold weather sets in, and are keen to ensure that as few people as possible spend the winter alone. According to Jonny, ‘for many of the people we meet, a regular visit from a friendly face would be the best Christmas present they could possibly receive!’

If you could help, or would like to know more, please contact Jonny Wood or Natalie Hickman on 01263 510701 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Alternatively, you can visit them for a chat at their office in Merchants’ Place, 16 Church Street, Cromer, or at the following locations during December:

DATE                                         TOWN/LOCATION                  TIME

Mon 1st Dec                               Reepham Library                   2.00-3.30pm

Mon 1st Dec                               Aylsham Library                    4.00-5.30pm

Tues 2nd Dec                              Taverham Library                 10.00-11.30am

Tues 2nd Dec                              Acle Library                          3.00-4.30pm

Wed 3rd Dec                              Wroxham Library                   10.00-11.30am

Tues  9th Dec                             North Walsham Library          10.30am-12.00pm

Thurs 11th Dec                           Stalham Library                     10.30am-12.00pm

Thurs 11th Dec                           Cromer – Merchants’ Place      3.00-4.30pm

Fri 12th Dec                                Holt Library                           10.00-11.30am (to be confirmed)

Fri 12th Dec                                Fakenham Library                  12.30-2.00pm                                            

Fri 12th Dec                                Wells Library                         3.00-4.30pm

Last modified on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 22:31

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