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Two Frome charities work together to help beat the winter blues with a New Year celebration on ‘Blue Monday’

Lucia Chadwick, project co-ordinator, with volunteers.  Each volunteer was given a lovely box of chocolates that were kindly donated by Choc-on-Choc. Photo courtesy of Mark Epstein.

Lucia Chadwick, project co-ordinator, with volunteers. Each volunteer was given a lovely box of chocolates that were kindly donated by Choc-on-Choc. Photo courtesy of Mark Epstein.

ON Monday 20th January, the day social scientists claim we are at our lowest ebb, Active and In Touch Frome joined forces with Frome’s Renewable Energy company (FREco) to bring a little New Year cheer to their members and volunteers at the Cheese and Grain. 

Active & In Touch Frome is a group of volunteers from the town and surrounding villages who are available to support and meet with people who have become isolated or out of touch with the community around them.

Lucia Chadwick, project co-ordinator for Active and In Touch Frome said, “Over the past year Active and In Touch Frome has gone from strength to strength reaching out to more elderly, vulnerable or isolated people in our community.  This has only been possible with the support of our fabulous band of volunteers.

“By teaming up with FRECo we were able to bring our members and volunteers together to enjoy each other’s company over a meal.  It was also an opportunity for me to thank our volunteers for all the wonderful work they do, and, with the support of FREco, our members were given important information and advice about keeping warm and cosy this winter.”

7000 people die every year in UK because they can’t afford to heat their home adequately.  FRECo has secured some funding to help address this and the Active and In Touch new year celebration was just one in a series of events they are running to help people to try to heat their homes for less this winter and to help them switch supplier.

Active and In Touch Frome was formed just over two years ago as a pilot project funded by Somerset County Council. The charity is now managed by Volunteer Sector Training Alliance, or ViSTA, and has a strong team of around 30 volunteers from Frome and the surrounding villages who support a wide range of people.

The group offers a flexible volunteer service.  The volunteers meet people and spend time with them, find out their needs and interests, and help them to find their own place in the community.

Lucia said, “Each Tuesday we run an activity cafe at The Bridge for our members.  Each week we offer a different activity.  Over the past year we have run pottery sessions, cooking workshops, visits to local allotments, and local interest talks.  This week we will be running an ‘armchair yoga’ session.”

The charity is supported by businesses such as hairdressers and opticians, and medical staff, who can help pass information on to those who need it, and feeds into the wealth of activities that Frome has to offer, such as the Mendip Health Walks, lunch clubs, and special interest groups.

Anyone who feels they might like to volunteer their time to help others or who may know someone who might benefit from this support can call Lucia on 01373 467946 or 07572 854029 or send an email to activeintouch@vistapro ject.org.uk. 

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