10 years of our volunteer-led, community-based neighbours scheme
The Oakhaven Neighbours scheme was created ten years ago to provide Oakhaven’s patients with non-clinical and companionship support at home. Over the past decade, this volunteer programme has flourished, now with over fifty volunteers generously giving a few hours a week.
In 2013 it was identified that many of Oakhaven’s patients were suffering from loneliness and isolation at home. Sometimes people facing end of life can feel lonely even when there are family members and carers around. Forming a friendship with someone outside of their illness can make a huge difference to a person’s well-being.
Oakhaven Neighbours was created in response to this need; a team of trained volunteers now each generously give several hours a week to support people in their own homes.
The ‘Neighbours’ help with everyday tasks that can sometimes seem overwhelming; going out for a chat over coffee or sometimes sitting with them so that their carer can get out for a much-needed break safe in the knowledge that their loved one is in capable hands.
In just the last year alone, Neighbours have supported 120 people across the New Forest, Totton and Waterside areas and given a total of 4,400 hours!
The amazing difference is evident in Theresa’s story, she became a Neighbour to a lady who hadn’t left her flat for six years. As Theresa said, “I took my lady out in a wheelchair lent by Oakhaven; it was the first time she had been out in six years, except for within an ambulance! We went for a stroll around her neighbourhood; she absolutely loved it and was so happy feeling the breeze on her cheeks!! I left a happy lady, and we look forward to going further afield next time.
Another Oakhaven Neighbour explained: “Being a hospice neighbour is so varied and enjoyable. It’s humbling to know how much giving up a small amount of time to support others can mean to them, whether it be doing their shopping, taking them shopping, gardening, walking the dog, going out for a drive around the New Forest or to a garden centre or setting the world to rights over a coffee and bacon and egg sandwich in a local cafe. It is a very valuable, worthwhile use of free time, developing friendships with people with different or very interesting life histories; I so love a good chat.”
Volunteer and be a part of something special!
A friendly team of volunteers, Oakhaven Neighbours welcome new volunteers throughout the year. Full training is provided, along with ongoing support. Become an Oakhaven Neighbour and you’ll make a real difference to the quality of someone’s life and be a part of a dedicated and valued team.
If you have a little time to pop in and visit someone locally, Oakhaven would love to hear from you. To find out more about the scheme and becoming an Oakhaven Neighbour, please contact Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org leaving a contact telephone number.