Project seeks Neighbourhood Friends

PUBLISHED: 15:00 25 September 2014 | UPDATED: 15:26 25 September 2014

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A charity is seeking 50 people to take part in a project to help make Budleigh Salterton a more neighbourly town.

Neighbourhood Friends, a project led by Exminster-based charity Westbank Community Health and Care, is one of eight projects across the country to receive government funding in a programme aiming to keep older people out of hospital this winter.

By mobilising an army of volunteers and good neighbours, the charity’s aim is to help people aged 75 and over to stay well, warm and connected to others in their community, reducing the need for them to go into hospital unnecessarily and helping them return home promptly after a spell in hospital.

Westbank’s Lucy de Garis said: “We are creating a register of willing neighbours and volunteers who are happy to be called upon when there is a need.

“This is providing a new way for people to offer their help to others who live in their community. In addition, it provides the older people for whom the service is designed with practical help and support that genuinely comes from the heart.”

The scheme is seeking volunteers on several levels. Rapid Response friends will respond when there is a task that needs doing quickly, such as picking up emergency food items or feeding a pet while someone is in hospital.

Welcome Home friends will be there to settle people back in on their return from hospital, helping with practical tasks and alleviating anxiety.

Wellbeing friends will get involved when more long-term support is needed to help people achieve what they want to achieve – whether that’s helping them with exercises or introducing them to social activities in their community.

Older people will be referred to the service by their GP or a member of a hospital discharge team.

To get involved, visit www.neighbourfriends.org.uk, call 01392 823690, or email neighbourhoodfriends@westbankfriends.org.


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