Saints come in to help city’s isolated during COVID-19 crisis
Updated: Mar 31, 2020
SAINTS Foundation has offered some of its full-time staff to help another Southampton charity with its vital work supporting the city’s isolated and lonely during the current COVID-19 crisis (March 2020).
Eleven employees from the organisation, which is the charity of Southampton Football Club, are volunteering to help Communicare support and maintain safe social contact with its vulnerable service users.
Communicare’s Manager, Annie Clewlow says: “This is a wonderful, very welcome boost to our Communiteer numbers and it is particularly helpful having support like this, as it’s not just the number of people and the time they can give us that’s important. We’re also linking with an organisation where they can lend us staff or volunteers already DBS checked.
“This is speeding up the process of us actually getting people out and about making essential visits, at a safe social distance, to some of the city’s elderly and vulnerable, who desperately need our support. These people are a godsend. We provided a vital lifeline to those in need before the current situation and now our service is more relevant and essential than ever.
“We’re facing numerous challenges at the moment. Many of our volunteers are in vulnerable situations themselves being aged either 70 plus, or they have an underlying health condition, so they rightly need to be in self-isolation now, and for the next 12 weeks, as per the Government’s and health experts’ recommendations.
“We do not want any of them to leave home or to feel they should, but this means our already stretched team is being put under even more strain as we try to maintain contact with and provide any essential assistance needed to our service users, who are also mainly elderly and have mental and physical wellbeing issues too.”
Communicare is a friendly, neighbourhood charity that wants to eradicate loneliness and isolation in Southampton with the assistance of its band of Communiteers, who volunteer to give their time freely.
Head of Saints Foundation and Community Partnerships, Greg Baker said: “We have the people power available and are more than happy to help another important charity in our city with its vital work. Our team is unable to work at the moment in the way it normally does. However, as our ethos is to use the power and passion of the club to transform lives in and around Southampton, we thought this was a good fit for the work we do already in the community.”
Communicare’s Good Neighbours’ Network normally supports nearly 400 individuals/ families annually, covering more than 2,300 tasks including one-to-one befriending, transport to activities, such as the regular lunch clubs and tea parties it hosts and shopping for, or with, those it helps. All the assistance offered is free to users, although beneficiaries are invited to make a donation if they are able, and Communiteers are offered expenses.
“Obviously our offices are now closed, we’re no longer running social gatherings but all those we help still need support and we’re expecting demand for our services to increase dramatically during the coming weeks.
“Any organisation that has multiple staff or volunteers who are DBS checked and unable to work, we’d love to hear from you, so we can work in partnership. Those who are DBS checked will be able to help our service users more quickly. You can email us via email@example.com to find out more.”
Please note the Communicare offices are now closed but staff are available via email and social media.
To find out more about volunteering, please call 023 8021 6023, visit www.communicareinsouthampton.org.uk or follow the charity on Twitter at @Communicare_SO or log on to www.facebook.com/CommunicareInSouthampton.