We held our AGM this year on July 26th in the middle of a real downpour.
This was our first meeting with Councillor May Li who is the Parish Council representative for our organization. This is her first year as a parish councillor so it gave her the opportunity to meet us and a number of organizations that work in the parish to improve life for seniors.
We reported to the meeting on the work we had done during the year on a number of new initiatives.
The biggest of the initiatives are the events run by our stalwart events Manager Penny Leigh. Working with a number of volunteers including Bill and Teresa she has begun a number of very well supported outings to places of interest and lunches out for the more active elderly. These are very well attended and some months there is a convoy of the minibus and a couple of cars. For the frailer elderly, there is the Cuppa Club which meets on Fridays for a cup of something and cake and biscuits. The Cuppa Club made all the bunting for the Coronation picnic gazebo where we served lunch and Pimms to 20 visitors on a beautiful sunny day. Naturally we served Coronation Chicken and salads followed by apple cakes made by our volunteer Bill.
Charlie Coke Smyth has worked to update our web site and we showed the unfinished site to the AGM. The site is interactive and sign posts to a number of other organizations and groups. Without him we could not have done this and it is beginning to look really good. We all had to have our photos taken at PRC photographic in the village.
With input from the Community Prescribers We have also worked hard to develop a questionnaire targeted at seniors and aiming to find out what they want and what they feel is missing in the Parish for them. This will go out to as many people as we can reach who are aged 60 and above. The social prescribers say the biggest issue with seniors is loneliness and isolation so we are working to set up a befriending service which will aim to match volunteers with isolated seniors, the contact to vary from a regular phone call to a meeting to making a bridge to local social activities.
The minibus is getting more use and it is available to any group in the Parish who are organizing something for seniors. The bus is driven by volunteers so the more notice we can have the easier it is to find a driver and make it available. We contribute between £2,500-£3000 every year to the Day Centre at the Haskell Centre by meeting all the costs of transporting their clients to and from their centre on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. In addition, we contributed to two events they held during the year with grants towards their costs. Phone Penny on 01428 735099 to find out if you can use it.
Another new initiative is to start up a monthly trip to Alton now the bus service has reduced. This will enable people to visit banks and shops, see friends, have a cup of coffee or something better. They can come home without the five-hour compulsory stay the new bus timetable provides for which makes for a very long day out.
The meeting heard from the Treasurer that the accounts are in good order and our external examiner the very kind Chris Meech finds no fault with them. Our investments have held steady but an expanding programme needs more funds so we do need to attract donations and bequests.
Bob Hall told us that Seniors on the Go have decided to admit women to all their meetings and outings. This is a first for them and they are finding it is going very well, they meet on Mondays at the Haskell Centre for board games, conversation and to plan their monthly outings for lunch.
Sonia Meredith reported on two organizations the Carers Group and her membership of the Patients Consultative Group at the local surgeries. firstname.lastname@example.org finds her and the Carers group meets to provide support and help for anyone caring for another in our parish.
The Community Laundry is something that is almost unique to our Parish, they can collect laundry wash and iron it and return it for a very modest £7.50 a load. This takes about 3 or 4 days so if you need their help or know anyone who does please contact them on 01428 723823. They are a real resource.
Jeanette Kirby reported on the work of the Day Centre. They are now taking clients through Hampshire Adult Social Care who come with financial support and have extended their three daily sessions by opening at 9 am on Thursdays to offer a cooked breakfast to clients and their carers which is proving very popular. They had a summer trip to the coast which was very popular.
Sandy Moroney told us about the meetings of the Diabetic Support Group which meets alternatively at the Millennium Centre and in a local coffee shop where the owner now provides them with diabetically suitable biscuits. They offer signposting and practical help to what is a growing problem in our population. Contact Sandy on 01428 725193 to find out when they are next meeting.
The Hard of Hearing Group was represented by Kay Murry who changes batteries at a regular monthly meeting and offers really practical help to this group.
Voluntary Care spoke about the increased usage of their services and the perennial shortage of drivers. This group takes people to hospital appointments and Drs appointments. As our population ages there are more households who no longer have a driver so cannot get about.
Well our new Councillor certainly heard a lot of what is going on in the Parish and we look forward to seeing her at future events.