It’s that time of year again where all of us promise to make a change, be better, do better, be happier.
Turning those promises into reality is so much easier with a bit of support – and Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS), a charity with a base in Grantham, provides free services to give that helping hand.
David Fannin, chief executive, said: “LCVS works to support community groups to reach their goals, provides free one-to-one health support to individuals and helps people find volunteering opportunities.
“Our entire ethos is about being at the heart of our communities, helping groups and individuals to make a difference to themselves and others.”
In the last financial year (April 2014-March 2015) in South Kesteven:
• LCVS health trainers saw 97 people in South Kesteven on a personal health plan – giving one-to-one support to help them achieve their own health improvement goals.
Additionally, health trainers ran a number of short training courses helping specific groups of people, including offering healthier lifestyle advice to parents of young children and winter wellbeing advice for older people. A new course to help people take themselves out of the at risk category for type two diabetes will be launched on February 2 at the United Reformed Church Hall in Stamford.
Health trainers provide informal, confidential and free advice and support to people over the age of 16.
Jan Gould-Martin, LCVS senior health and social care officer, said: “Health trainers work with individuals to help them assess their specific needs and what may be preventing you from making healthy changes.
“We provide practical support and guidance to introduce new routines and activities, as well as sign-posting to additional useful or specialist services.
“That could include going along to a gym or swimming pool with a client to help them gain the confidence to join, signing them up for a course of free cooking lessons, helping a client to find a local exercise class or social group – which can be key to improving mental wellbeing and lead to a reduction in harmful habits.”
Anyone can arrange six to eight sessions with a health trainer - the location, time and frequency of the sessions to suit them.
• LCVS placed 65 people in volunteering roles – Grantham Talking Newspaper was one of those it matched with new volunteers.
Marie Chapman, LCVS senior volunteering and community development officer, said: “Volunteering has so many benefits not only for the many community groups and charities who need volunteers to function but also for individuals.
“Individuals can widen their social circle, learn a new skill, improve their employment prospects, rediscover an old hobby or just enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they are making a difference.”
LCVS has a database full of volunteering opportunities that offer a variety of tasks, time commitments, interests and experience.
• LCVS was involved in some way in supporting successful funding bids totalling £233,000 for projects in the district. LCVS’s involvement can range from pointing groups towards a fund that is likely to support what it is trying to deliver, giving advice on what an application needs to evidence to be successful or looking through a failed application to help assess what went wrong.
Folkingham Parish Council achieved the funding necessary to transform its village playarea following input from LCVS. After LCVS guidance it was awarded £22,700, which with other funding, generated a £63,000 revamp of the area.
• LCVS provided training to a total of 76 South Kesteven community groups.
Training and events provided by LCVS are provided in response to what community groups say they need. It can include things like trustee training, first aid courses and networking forums. Most of what LCVS provides is offered free. Annie Hall, chairman of Stamford Community Orchard Group attended a number of networking events.
She said: “These events create an opportunity to pause and think about what we are doing and why and how we are doing it. Often we are so busy getting the job done that we don’t stand back and wonder how we might do it better. It’s also really useful just to meet up with similar organisations and share ideas.”
A new outreach service offering community group support and volunteering advice will be launched at the Jubilee Life Centre in London Road, Grantham, this month. It will be available at the centre 10am to midday on the second and fourth Tuesday of every money, beginning Tuesday.
Community group support and funding advice is available at Wake House, North Street, Bourne on the first Wednesday of the month and at Stamford Town Hall, St Mary’s Hill, Stamford on the third and fourth Wednesday of the month.
Volunteering support and advice is usually available at Stamford Town Hall, St Marys Hill, Stamford on the second Wednesday of the month and at Wake House, North Street, Bourne on the third Wednesday of the month.
• LCVS is a registered charity with teams in South Holland, South Kesteven, Boston and East Lindsey.
The service works to help community-minded individuals and groups to get established, achieve their goals and flourish through providing support with paperwork and governance, resources, sourcing funding and finding and training volunteers.
In addition, LCVS’s health trainers work with individuals to help them get on the path to better health. LCVS runs accredited volunteer centres in Spalding, Boston, Louth and Grantham.
Its health trainers work in South Holland, South Kesteven and Boston.
LCVS South Kesteven’s base including Grantham Volunteer Centre moved at the end of last year to offices at the district council in St Peter’s Hill, Grantham.
Groups and individuals can visit LCVS there as well as meeting officers at outreach sessions. To book an appointment e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01476 920888.