Wednesday, 07 March 2012
Minister for Care Services Paul Burstow MP
has launched an innovative volunteering scheme as part of the Government’s Big Society initiative at an event at the WRVS York Centre in Maidenhead.
The ‘Care Bank’ scheme
sees age-positive charity WRVS team up with the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
, Age Concern Windsor
and Slivers of Time
to provide ‘time credit’ rewards for those who use their time to help older or vulnerable people, bringing the community together to help each other.
Local people are now being encouraged to join the scheme which provides the flexibility to support others in the way that suits them, even if they can only spare a couple of hours a week.
Volunteers can choose how to exchange their credits and also how they would like to help people in their community, whether by cutting a lawn, taking someone to the shops or helping around the house.
Those involved in the project can benefit in a variety of ways. Gaining one credit for each hour they give, they can receive rewards such as a discounted swim, donate their credits or store them to use during the pilot period.
At the launch, Mr Burstow spent time with staff, volunteers and service users to discuss why the scheme is so important.
The pilot scheme will run for a year, with a view to rolling the initiative out across the UK.
Image (l-r): Linda Jennings, Head of Quality and Service Development, WRVS; Sue Hailes, WRVS Care Bank volunteer and service user; Paul Burstow MP; Mayor of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Cllr Asghar Majeed
"The WRVS Care Bank is an exciting initiative and a great example of how volunteers can contribute to society, making local services more responsive, community owned and tailored to the people receiving them. This sort of personalised approach to supporting vulnerable and older people is very impressive. Preventative care can go a long way to reducing the pressure on the NHS and social care, reducing the number of readmissions hospitals have to deal with, allowing people to stay happy, healthy and independent in their own homes."
Paul Burstow MP
"The Royal Borough’s vision for Care Bank is that it will be an exciting and beneficial addition to the Big Society, stimulating community action and more opportunities for volunteers who want to contribute to their community. Care Bank will complement council services so that, together, we can offer local people workable options, flexibility and support along with tangible recognition of volunteering efforts."
Cllr Simon Dudley, Deputy Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Adult and Community Services
"WRVS is delighted to work on this scheme and we hope it will encourage new people, young as well as old, to volunteer. Lending a helping hand for just a couple of hours a week goes a long way to reducing the isolation that can set in when getting out and about is difficult. We would encourage those people who think they don’t have time to volunteer to reconsider and give the scheme a try to see how rewarding it can be."
Angela Geer, Director of Older People’s Services, WRVS
For further information
WRVS is one of Britain’s leading age positive volunteering charities with more than 40,000 volunteers working to help make Britain a great place to grow old in. If you are over the age of 14, we have volunteering opportunities in communities, in hospitals and in emergency situations.
Find out how you could become a WRVS volunteer, call 0845 601 4670 today or search for volunteering opportunities in your area. Or help make a difference by making a secure online donation to WRVS.
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