It can be really hard asking for help and feeling as though we are relinquishing control. But if you are open to it then there are some amazing volunteers out there. And if you would like some help but feel uncomfortable that you can’t give anything in return then I say this: as someone who has volunteered a lot these last few years, please know that you are giving so much back just by being you and by giving a volunteer that opportunity.
Within your village or town there could be people you already know who are keen to help, possibly through your church community or football club?
If you are looking a bit further afield here are a few to be going on with…
Home-Start works with families who may be struggling with a variety of challenges; post-natal depression, bereavement, disability and isolation. As long as your family has at least one child of primary school age (under twelve), then you are eligible and families can self-refer.
Home-Start can help families connect with other services they may have difficulty reaching. The organisation also aims to help parents to build their resilience and ability to cope.
The way Home-Start works is that a volunteer will come and visit on a weekly basis for a couple of hours. They can’t go off and do the shopping for you but they can go with you; if your child/young person’s needs mean they are displaying challenging behaviour for example, or they need a lot of help physically then a bit of moral support could be very welcome. They can attend toddler groups with you or school meetings, help you with some batch cooking or just sit and have a chat, which sometimes is the best help of all.
Watch this space for an interview with one of the Family Coordinators but in the mean time check out their website for more information. www.homestartinsuffolk.org
Community Action Suffolk (CAS)
CAS has several projects on the go, one of which is Mind The Gap. This involves targeted support for young people in Suffolk to gain and sustain education and employment. The focus of Mind The Gap is young people with complex needs such as mental health issues, substance misuse, special educational needs or physical disability.
Another CAS project is Suffolk Good Neighbour Schemes. These run throughout Suffolk and are local voluntary groups who offer help to people in the community. Examples include giving someone a lift to a doctor’s appointment, picking up a prescription, going shopping, taking the dog for a walk.
Other Useful Organisations
Gate Opener is a charity based in Mildenhall, which provides free information to disabled people and their carers across Suffolk. They can look into any question relating to disability for people of all ages.
Leading Lives support adults with learning disabilities or complex physical needs. They also work with young people who are making the transition to adult services. Leading Lives provides supported living, respite services and support in the home.