ANNUAL IMPACT REPORT 2021-22

DIRECTORS OVERVIEW

2021/22 held many expectations for the world and our little part of it. Like all organisations we were hopeful of a swifter fuller recovery and there was hope of a return to normality. This evaded us and the pandemic continues to have an effect on the day-to-day use of our services and the individuals and organisations that we seek to support. Our transport services are now approaching 50% of pre pandemic levels, our recruitment levels are much quicker to respond, and our voluntary sector support services have been as busy as ever, with pressures created by covid causing other matters to come to the fore of the community’s needs.

Perhaps the single most important change and indeed improvement for us was the move to new offices in Broadway House at the very end of March 2021, our ever-closer working relationship with Greenham Trust resulted in a formal alliance being formed. Our respective officers meet regularly to discuss issues that face the community from an organisational and financial perspective. 

I want to express thanks to my team in no particular order have been great colleagues, they are Lizzie Fenton, Ros Littlejon, Jean Fleming, Katy Hawthorne, Gill Brown, Gill Smith, Catriona Ottner, Karen Eeles,Julia Jones, Sarah Summerbell, Julian Greaves, Sara Hanson, Pankaja Samant, Chris Read, Paul Wilding, Jacqui Letsome, Jan Ferrer, Sue Bennet, Trevor Lisseman, Chris Armitage and Andy Parsons.

I want to thank all of our volunteer car drivers, volunteer bus drivers and not least the team of trustees so ably led by Brien Beharrell who provides me with first class support based on her very considerable experience within business and a clear perspective of how communities tick  in Newbury and West Berkshire.

GARRY POULSON

VOLUNTEER RECRUITMENT

During the year we have given advice and information on volunteering to 488 individuals from 45 different West Berkshire parishes. There are currently 264 active volunteering opportunities on our database. Our flexiteer service provides information on short-term and one-off volunteering roles. 

Here is a quote from a happy volunteer.

 “Volunteering allows me to get out and about and it is nice to know that I am helping others and making their lives easier when they may be going through a hard time. It has given me a sense of purpose during lockdown. Knowing you are giving something back makes you feel good. People have helped me in the past and as such, I wanted to help others.” 

NAOMI HINTON,VOLUNTEER

Contact: Chris Read  vbase@vcwb.org.uk

 

NEWBURY & THATCHAM HANDYBUS

Contact:  handybus@vcwb.org.uk 

 

Call  01635 37111 Mon – Fri 9am to 1pm

Taking delivery of two new buses has been a highlight during the year and we are grateful to West Berks Council Community Transport department for the investment.In particular we aim to commence our daily book a ride service using our new 16-seater Peugeot boxer bus which has fantastic new decals thanks to the kind support of Apple Print and Creative and their design team.

Thanks of course to our team of Handybus drivers who can be seen out and about 6 days and evenings a week.

During the year in Newbury, we undertook 487 trips for 1435 passengers Volunteers undertook 586 hours of time. In Thatcham we undertook 208 trips for 851 passengers and drivers gave 357.5 hours of time.Our wheel chairman vehicle helped with 81 trips for 81 passengers.

ABOUT OUR THE COMMUNITY CAR SCHEME

The car scheme continues to steadily increase the number of passengers using the service. The Pandemic has had a catastrophic effect in terms of confidence to ‘go out’ this confidence is returning commensurate with medical appointments that are slowly returning to ‘in person’ appointments.

The total number of journeys undertaken during the year was 2454. 75% of all trips are medical needs. 

Thanks to the office volunteer team and the team of volunteer car drivers who continue to provide amazing selfless service for others in the town.

Contact: car@vcwb.org.uk 

Call  01635 49004 Mon – Fri 10am to 1pm

ABOUT OUR SHOPMOBILITY

Contact:

newburyshopmobility@vcwb.org.uk  

Call  01635 523854 Mon – Sat 10am to 3pm

The past year has seen a slow but steady return of service users, the average age of users being over 60 and a lack of confidence with that cohort will take some time recover to pre pandemic levels of service. We were required to bid for the funds from West Berkshire Council to run the service from 2022 for the next 3 years. We are pleased that those funds were awarded to us.

During the year our equipment was used for a total of 4494 days.

we enlisted 145 new members and 43 people renewed their membership for a further year.

 

Thanks to our team of Lindsay, Vicky, Angie, Pat and Angela

SUICIDE PREVENTION ACTION GROUP

In May 2017 we established the West Berkshire Suicide Prevention Action Group in order to bring about greater awareness of the issue and to provide training and resources for local frontline workers, businesses and sports clubs. In the year we managed to secure funds from both Greenham Trust and West Berkshire Council from the surviving to Thriving fund and in the early part of 2022 a further local grant of £5000 will enable us to extend the contract of our support worker. Our worker Sue is now a fully accredited Suicide First Aid Trainer. During the year we have visited 20 Sports clubs, 28 barbers and hairdressers, 5 tattoo parlours, 65 pubs and restaurants, 5 betting shops. 25 motor garages, 22 health related organisations, 60 miscellaneous premises. Our website was also launched. This body is chaired by Garry Poulson who is supported by Jerry Dixon of Newbury Samaritans as his vice chairman.

SUPPORTING THE VOLUNTARY SECTOR

Contact : Director Garry Poulson

garry@vcwb.org.uk 

Funding advice – Sara Hanson

sara@vcwb.org.uk

Training events and bulletin –

Pankaja Samant pankaja@vcwb.org.uk

Importantly we established a working alliance with Greenham Trust to better support the voluntary and community sector. During the year we have provided 51 weekly news bulletins to 782 subscribers. Our small team have supported 28 training courses with our training partner  connecting communities in Berkshire Our funding advisor has provided funding support sessions for new and existing charities.  During the year we assisted in the creation of an educational charity providing leading edge IT teaching in educational settings. We also established a Lacrosse charity in Newbury and a Lambourn based well being charity. We have also been working towards a village community shop in partnership with Greenham Trust and WBC. Our director has been providing advocacy for the sector and attending more than 10 local authority and NHS boards including the new BOB  Berks Bucks and Oxon Health Alliance in readiness for the new larger clinical commissioning group (The CCG).

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