Volunteering Matters – Southend

Volunteering Matters is working towards a society where everyone can participate in their local community through volunteering and social actions. They believe that everyone can play a role in their community and should have the chance to participate. They build projects and programmes to reflect this and focus on the needs of four communities; young people, disabled people, families and older people.

They said:

“Thanks to support from Tesco COVID-19 Community Funding, our volunteers are continuing to support at-risk families, identified by social services, in Southend via one-on-one online/telephone support.

“Reducing social isolation and loneliness is one of our key focus areas at Volunteering Matters. Some of the families we work with have a small network so enabling this support to continue has meant families haven’t been left to fend for themselves and are instead remain rooted into the community. Maintaining positive health and wellbeing is another key focus area we have. We are incredibly grateful for the generosity and commitment of our volunteers who are going above and beyond, taking on more responsibilities and supporting additional families. This has helped to increase the projects capacity and the reach in the local community so more families can be supported during this difficult time. We are also supporting isolated people with disabilities through our Active Volunteering Programme.

“One of the people supported by our volunteers has complex health needs and has been lonely, and depressed because she lost her independence when she was moved to a care home in the country. She unfortunately has no family or friends. We matched her with a volunteer who has been her only link with normality. Her volunteer normally takes her out into the community. When the lockdown started we had to find a way to keep in contact so a mobile phone was delivered to her. She was excited and happy that someone wanted to contact her and happily told staff that her befriender was going to keep in touch. The beneficiary is happy and positive which is a contrast from being scared and alone last summer when we first made contact.”

Find out more about Volunteering Matters.

Kool Carers South East

KCSE support young people who care and look after a member of their family who are sick, disabled, have mental health illness or who may be misusing drugs or alcohol.

They provide weekly Zoom sessions with young carers to reduce some of the loneliness and isolation they are experiencing at this time. Carers are spending more time at home with no respite and this is impacting on the young carers mental health and emotional wellbeing, as is evident by the increased demand for Kool Carers support.

They said:

“Many young carers have become increasingly more isolated, because of the Government restrictions during this pandemic.  For many, being at home has meant an increase in their caring responsibilities and ultimately a loss of any form respite, this has proven to have a detrimental impact on emotional well-being.  The COVID -19 Communities Funding has been an invaluable lifeline, allowing the staff team to be able to provide remote group sessions weekly for young carers, so that they can have contact and have fun with those with whom they share an identity”.

The Braintree foodbank

The organisation provides nutritionally balanced emergency food along with support to local people in crisis.

They said:

“The funding has been used to purchase pre-paid cards that were handed out to those needing emergency food. These cards could be used to purchase fresh produce as well the dried/canned food usually offered by the food bank.”

Find about more about Braintree Food Bank