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Community News - February/March 21

Community News From Around Our Area

The WPH Charitable Trust Awards £2,500 to Warwickshire Vision Support

The WPH Charitable Trust has awarded £2,500 to Warwickshire Vision Support to enable the charity to continue to support visually impaired people during the Covid-19 crisis.

Warwickshire Vision Support is using the money towards its telephone befriending service.

The service was launched as a direct result of Covid-19 to replace its usual face-to-face home visitor service and four vision support centres throughout Warwickshire which offer company as well as advice and guidance in managing sight problems.

Prior to the pandemic Warwickshire Vision Support ran a popular home visitor befriending service with volunteers offering company and conversation. They would also assist with correspondence and mail and check for use by dates and any hazards in the home. The charity was forced to suspend these services when the pandemic took hold.

In the event of the first lockdown last March, Warwickshire Vision Support made more than 3,000 welfare calls to visually impaired people across the county, with staff and volunteers assessing the individual welfare needs of its vulnerable service users. They launched their newly developed telephone befriending service on 15th April.

The charity also supported service users who needed extra help with shopping, medication deliveries, transportation and emergency rehabilitation. In addition, a further 150 people were identified as extremely lonely or vulnerable. All those identified were in addition to the 100 people who regularly use the home visitor service and the 200-plus members of the charity’s 14 recreational clubs.

As a result, Warwickshire Vision Support started working closely with more than 400 visually impaired individuals on a daily basis, providing them with much-needed company, conversation and mental stimulation.

Louise Jelley is the Fundraising and Senior Vision Support Officer of Warwickshire Vision Support. She said the telephone befriending service continued over Christmas and New Year, providing a vital service for so many vulnerable people, and is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

Louise said the additional support since the event of Covid-19 had been made possible thanks to around 60 kind-hearted volunteers who had come forward. Many had been furloughed from local schools, nurseries and hospitals.

Between 23rd March and 4th May the number of hours clocked up by the volunteers had topped 1,000 although many volunteers later returned to their own jobs. Since the inception of the telephone befriending service on 15th April 2020, over 8,000 calls have been made with an excess of 4,000 volunteer hours committed to this project.

Louise said, “The support we have received from The WPH Charitable Trust means that we are able to continue to provide our invaluable telephone befriending service for the foreseeable future. More people will receive our support and fewer will feel lonely and isolated during these most challenging times.”