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A helping hand

Lorraine from our Help at Home service writes:  Change is always difficult: we might say, ‘I don’t mind change.. ‘ I welcome change’… but secretly, we are nervous of the unknown.

My volunteer pool has grown over the past couple of months as we have changed the way our Help at home service is delivered. However, change has brought with it new conversations, not least from volunteers I knew as a name, but hadn’t previously spoken to.


Those of you that know me, know I love a chat and I love an accent, so imagine my pleasure when I spoke to one of our volunteers with a soft Scottish accent and a wonderful story she shared with me.


This lovely lady was very pleased to hear from me, and I could hear the smile in her voice as she said ‘ well I do enjoy helping with those little things…’ 

We chatted briefly about Christmas and the weather, and she told me that she had been away on a cruise.  During her holiday she had visited the ship’s laundry room and met a lady doing her ironing.  They shared the usual pleasantries about the ship and the trip so far and how, no matter where you are, chores still need to be done. 

‘Oh I hate ironing’, said the lady

‘Really? I love it.  In fact I like it so much I work for charity and have helped people who can’t manage household tasks for themselves, ironing being one of them.’

‘So where do you live?’ said the woman

‘Cambridgeshire’ said our volunteer.

‘Whereabouts exactly?’ enquired the woman further.

‘Oh a little village near Peterborough’ said our volunteer.

‘And the charity? What’s the name of the Charity?’

‘Oh you probably have never heard of them, they are called Care Network,’ said our lovely volunteer with pride!

‘I live in that area,’ said the woman ‘and you came to my house three years ago to do just that when I broke my arm!’


The volunteer went on to say that it was in that moment she realised how much she was needed and so she was very glad when I called with details of someone else she could help.


So for me, talking to the volunteers who deliver our service is an absolute pleasure and reminds me why and how we do what we do.  I hope that with all the volunteer events planned for 2020 that I get to meet and thank more of our wonderful volunteers.  These selfless people pay it forward in the name of Care Network every day and I, for one, am very grateful for their time and efforts.

Thank you LW for sharing your story and your heart with our communities.

Help at Home – joining up the dots

Help At Home continues to be active across Cambridgeshire, supporting those who have recently been in hospital or who are unwell at home and need a little help to aid recovery.   Our volunteers are integral to this work, providing preventative support to those who might otherwise find themselves in hospital or in crisis.   In addition to this, we have been busy piloting a new service ‘Joining up the Dots’ within Peterborough City Hospital.  This fantastic service aims to help those with more complex situations that would fall normally outside of the scope of Help at Home.  So far we have been able to support 80 people in this way.

We have also been busy spreading the word about Help At Home and Care Network, making sure as many people as possible know about the support we can provide.  We were recently invited to speak at Hinchingbrooke Hospital’s Physio department and as a result have built some great relationships and are receiving referrals from them; we were part of the Addenbrookes’ Volunteers’ Week celebrations where we were able to talk about the good work we do there, and we attend a number of Integrated neighbourhood events, Multi-Disciplinary Teams meetings and engage with other health and social care professionals regularly.


Lesley coordinates our ‘Joining up the Dots’ work in Peterborough.   One delighted lady wrote to tell us how she had met Lesley at the home of her friend who had been admitted to hospital a few days before.   “I knew the bungalow was in a state and was thrilled there was someone willing to tackle it. Lesley took charge, in a calm, effective manner, identifying the areas that needed tackling first and creating a sensible, efficient system to initially sort through piles of papers etc. My offer of help was accepted and because of her calm, professional approach I was able to rise above my emotions and help her sort things out. She showed a real interest in my friend, asking sensible questions and listening to the answers!

I had to leave at 12noon but another volunteer joined her and together they continued to work there until about 4.30pm.

What a difference they made! All the untidiness had been removed and the bed made up.
My friend has since died so will not see the changes, but thanks to Lesley’s help we are now able to look for important papers to ensure their final wishes are met”.

Help at Home – May Update

Our committed team of volunteers continue to offer services such as shopping, befriending, helping to build confidence and supporting people to regain independence and further to support more people where there are more complex social situations involved and where we have worked closely with health and social care professionals to help return people to their level of independence at home.

Over the past year we have received over 2000 referrals with a large number of those going on to receive volunteer support.

Our flexible approach to volunteering has recently seen a flurry of interested people wanting to support local communities and as a result we will be running another volunteers training session in July.  Well-being training is available to all our volunteers.

With support from our amazing team of volunteers, our service continues to help people to be confident and independent again.

Would you like to volunteer with the Help at Home team? Please see our Volunteers page for more details or contact us directly.