By Sheila Hardiman, Chandlers Ford Good Neighbours
Do you have some time to spare? Volunteer with Good Neighbours.
When I retired in 2010, I went on a couple of exciting and interesting holidays, had the house decorated, spent time in the garden and joined Monks Brook U3A. I was feeling I had time on my hands by Christmas! Luckily, I heard about Chandlers Ford Good Neighbours from a lady I took to a U3A interest group.
I contacted them and within a couple of weeks, I was signed up and driving for them. Not long afterwards, I became one of their coordinators as well. I enjoy meeting and chatting to many different clients; hearing about their families, comparing notes when they had worked where I did or have similar interests.
In fact, I enjoyed it so much that when I had to move away for a while to look after my elderly parents, I sought out a similar group in Surrey and met a new group of people! Now I am back on home turf and once again driving and coordinating the requests for help.
Helping SO53 Neighbours for over 15 years
Chandlers Ford Good Neighbours has been working to help the people of SO53 postcode for more than fifteen years. We mostly provide transport to medical appointments, dentists and opticians included, but also provide friendship when needed to help combat loneliness.
Lockdown proved to be as much of a challenge to us as to everyone else in the community. Last year, at first volunteers were not allowed to drive others, then only the under 70 volunteers were permitted to take passengers under strict safety precautions. Luckily by July 2020, our over 70s could get back into driving again, but still with strict precautions! Masks, open car windows and lots of sanitising …
Requests for hospital and other appointments were less frequent last year and, of course, many family members were working from home allowing them to take their loved ones themselves. Now the appointments are available more freely and families are back at work, but we have lost volunteers along the way. Many of our volunteers have returned but some over the last year have been shielding themselves or family, have moved, been ill and have chosen to leave CFGN after many years with us.
If you have a few hours to spare, please think about joining us. As a coordinator, my worst nightmare is not being able to find an available volunteer, so the more we have the better! Volunteers can do as much or as little as they wish. More information can be found on our website or you can call 07914 757380 to chat to one of our coordinators.