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Funding for people stay Active and In Touch

Following a successful bid to Somerset Community Foundation, funds have been awarded to Active and In Touch Frome to pay for an assistant coordinator to help the organisation with their work, and in particular to help it support elderly people living in our community who feel isolated, vulnerable, rather lonely, or just need another interest.

Long-serving volunteer, Di Roberts, has been employed on a freelance basis to assist Lucia Chadwick, the project coordinator, with the running of this volunteer befriending scheme in the town and the surrounding villages.

The group currently has an active network of around 30 volunteers supporting over 60 people in the community, and serves adults of any age with a wide variety of personal circumstances.  This number is growing each month, with referrals coming in from across the community, including from local GPs, social workers and other NHS services.

Active and In Touch Frome also runs a weekly two-hour Active Wednesday social group which has around 55 attendees.  The group now meets at Phoenix House on Dommetts Lane and is aimed at being a safe, relaxed, friendly place for members and volunteers to mix and get to know each other.  Each week there is a different activity, from cookery workshops, to visits to local gardens and local interest talks.

Charles Wood, chairman of Active and In Touch Frome said, “We are very pleased to welcome Di Roberts to the team and are very grateful to Somerset Community Foundation for their funding.  Isolation and loneliness are growing issues in our society.  The social problem is regularly highlighted in the press as a feature of an increasing disparate and ageing population.

“This funding is essential in our continuing provision of friendly, concerned and caring contact on an occasional basis to more of those people who perhaps previously had little companionship, may be suffering from depression, have mobility issues, are under-confident about life, recently bereaved, or may, simply, be new to the area.

“Our volunteer befriending service provides people with a chance to just chat about things, introduce them to other things happening locally, help beneficiaries get around, and to enjoy specific visits to places of interest; all aimed at bringing some missing colour into their lives.  Our services are not complex, but such simple pleasures are big factors in sustaining both mental and physical wellbeing.”

Active and In Touch Frome is a charitable unincorporated association, and is run in partnership with Somerset You Can Do who employ the project coordinator, register all the project’s volunteers and provide training and induction.

The group says, “Our volunteer befrienders spend time with those who wish to use our services, find out their needs and interests, and help them to find their own place in the community.  Over the last three years many different people have been helped by the befrienders, in many different ways and for many different reasons. Currently the project’s youngest member is 30 and the oldest member is 100!”

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 Chadwick or Di Roberts on 07572 854029/ 07468 859453, call Somerset You Can Do on 01278 664 180, visit the Somerset You Can Do website on somersetyoucando.com  or send an email to lucia.chadwick@somersetyoucando.org or activeandintouch@gmail.com.

Active and In Touch Frome is also supported by Frome Town Council.  The group shares an office space with Fair Frome at the Frome Town Council, 5, Palmer Street, BA11 1DS.  The office is now manned between 10am – 3pm, Monday to Thursday.