EASTBOURNE VOLUNTEERS WITH HELEN BURTON: Small project leads to quick reactions

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One of the great things about our project being small, is that we can react really quickly to issues and get things done.

One of our volunteers used to help out at the RVS lunch club which was held every weekday lunchtime, but closed last year when the RVS Russell Centre closed. She was talking about how much the elderly people that used it missed their regular lunches, so I suggested maybe we could look at getting it back up and running.

Within a week we were able to pull together a potential pool of volunteers, several potential venues and a possible source of funding. We contacted the RVS and were glad to hear that they have appointed someone two days a week to get services back up and running in Eastbourne, so we have been able to give them all of the information we gathered and hopefully the lunch club is on its way back! We are now working closely with the RVS to see how much we can achieve!

Another example of our project reacting to a need quickly is a suggestion made by the Matthew 25 project. We were contacted by them to say that they often had requests for help getting to medical appointments, and would we be interested in looking into the possibility of a volunteer car scheme in Eastbourne. Now, I know how important these schemes are because there is one in Pevensey Bay run at the Information Centre which is vital to our community, so I was only too happy to start doing some research. Amazingly, I found that 3VA had organised a workshop for all of the volunteer transport schemes in East Sussex and Wealden the same week, so we were able to attend and learn how other organisations do it.

I also met with the organisers of the Pevensey Bay service and researched other transport options locally. Yesterday I met with Chris Durber, manager of Volunteer Services at the DGH and it looks like us starting a scheme in Eastbourne is a real possibility. The hospital are willing to pay for ID badges for our drivers, DBS checks, training and also arrange parking facilities. We still have some research and planning to do, but if we could run a car transport scheme from our Hub it would do a lot of good in Eastbourne.

We have a great bus service but it is not always practical to get to medical appointments for a variety of reasons, and with services split between Eastbourne and Hastings distance can be a barrier to people getting the help they need. If you would like to help set up or be part of this service please get in touch. We will need more admin staff for our hub and drivers. We are closing our Hub for two weeks over Easter from April 1, re-opening on the 17, but we will be using this time to plan behind the scenes so will still be picking up emails at eastbournevolunteers@gmail.com