EASTBOURNE VOLUNTEERS: The problems facing our community

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We all know that Eastbourne is a wonderful place to live but beneath the surface, like any other village, town or city, there are people who need support.

Evidence for the importance of community support can be found on the website www.eastsussexinfigures.org.uk

According to the latest ESCC figures (from 2012) the number of Eastbourne residents affected by income deprivation was 15,063, 15.1 per cent of residents. The number of residents over the age of 60 affected by income deprivation was 4,426, 15 per cent of residents.

In the same year, 3,730 children were living in poverty, 18.7 per cent of children in Eastbourne.

And 5.7 per cent of the residents in Eastbourne are unemployed (2011 census).

In May 2015 the number of residents in Eastbourne claiming disability living allowance was 4,950. According to Eastbourne Foodbank 8766 three-day emergency food supplies were given to people in crisis in 2015.

Loneliness and isolation is also a problem that can affect people from all backgrounds for all sorts of reasons. Community action is vital to make sure that all residents of Eastbourne have the support they need, and this could not happen without volunteers. Our project aims to promote volunteering and make sure that volunteers feel valued and supported. We are cataloguing lots of local volunteering roles, including some really unusual opportunities. Beekeeping, gardening, working in an allotment, staffing a local community theatre, being a volunteer recordist for the talking newspaper or helping others to access arts and crafts. How about working in a charity shop, being a home visitor for people who have just returned from hospital or helping to serve food and drink at a local lunch club? Perhaps you could put your driving skills to good use? The possibilities are endless and we are finding out about more and more every day!

Starting on Friday March 3 we will be holding a weekly coffee morning at our hub from 10am to 12noon, so if you are tempted to help please do come along and find out more. Just drop in at any time and we will have lots of info for you on what is happening in Eastbourne that you could be involved with. Of course the Hub is open 10am to 1pm every weekday so you are welcome any time. We also need staff with basic computer skills for our hub. Could you spare a few hours a week to promote local events, help to build our database of information, and chat with visitors to the Hub about how we can help them? We would love to hear from you!

We want to shout about the great work being done in Eastbourne from the rooftops. Volunteers are amazing, we want to tell their stories. If you would like to volunteer, sign up to our newsletter, tell us about your story or make sure we know about your local project please email eastbournevolunteers@gmail.com or pop into our Community Hub at 1 The Labyrinth, 7 Mark Lane, Eastbourne BN21 4RJ and we will stick the kettle on!