Find out about the people behind Royal Voluntary Service in our series of guest stories from our volunteers, staff and partners.
Lin and Alan Keeling have been part of the ‘You Me and Us’ project for over a year. You, Me and Us is one of our Local People projects, funded by People’s Health Trust, which works with local communities to improve the lives of older residents. Lin and Alan help organise the fortnightly Ketley Coffee Club and many other groups and activities. As carers themselves, it has given the couple another focus, a social community of friends and added “happiness and hope” to their lives.
“We found out about the project when we attended a group called Ketley Good Companions in Telford. The club leader Barbara Evans informed the group about the new project called ‘You Me and Us’, which is part of the Local People’s Project.We put our hands up straight away.
“We felt that we wanted to give something back to our community and thought that this was an ideal opportunity. It sounded really interesting and like a new adventure for us.
“We help with the organising and running of the Ketley Coffee Club which has about 25 people attending every fortnight.
“Although we are closely involved with the coffee club, we also support other clubs and activities through the steering group as the project covers three areas. These have ranged from social dining, afternoon teas and events, chair exercise groups and all kinds of things.
“We are carers and this project has given us something to look forward to and another focus. It’s brought us back to the land of the living.
“One man who has recently lost his wife has just started coming, before then his wife came. He has lived in the area for two years and didn’t know anyone and now he has new friends and people to talk to.
Alan, who is the volunteer Treasurer for the steering group,says he really enjoys doing the accounts “as it gives him a sense of purpose and value, whilst keeping his brain active”.
When asked what they would say to someone thinking of doing something similar in their community, the pair said “Go for it!”
Alex Lloyd, Community Engagement Worker in Telford commented “There is a real sense of people in the area beginning to work together, I love it!”
The Local People project in Telford is one of six Local People Projects
run by Royal Voluntary Service thanks to funding from the People's Health Trust
. It makes grants using money raised by 51 society lotteries through The Health Lottery. These projects take a neighbourhood approach, engaging with local people and enabling them to address wider issues in their communities through collective action.
Find out more about how we are working with local people to help them tackle the issues facing older people in their communities.
Posted by at 00:00
Sunday, 23 September 2018.
Meet Val who loves her local People’s Health Trust funded art group in Norfolk. She has been attending for over a year and has made connections in her community that she didn’t have before.
“I just love going to the Art and Wellbeing group on a Monday. You walk in and it’s warm and comfortable with a feeling of community.
“I’ve met some old faces – some of whom I’ve worked with in the past and haven’t seen for years. I’ve also made new friends and we all support each other through sad times, of which we’ve had a few recently. It’s a real support network. Now, if I bump into people at the shops, I stop and chat whereas I wouldn’t have before. I really feel like I know people now.
“I find the group helps to keep my mind active. It’s very easy as you get older to sit on your backside and do nothing but somethings you need to get out there and try things. I’d encourage others to give it a go! The group gives me a sense of belonging and helps with my confidence.
“I suffer with anxiety and going along on a Monday gives me a reason to go out and I thoroughly enjoy it. It’s not just the art, it’s the wellbeing side too. Some people come along just for that! We’ve even had sing-songs around the table.
“My favourite thing is collaging; it’s a great way to express yourself. I am a very arty crafty person; I used to help out at school. I’d spend ages doing arty things with the children and loved it so much. Now I like to see what others in the group are doing and listen to their ideas.
“I am onto my second sketchbook now and I work on them at home too. It used to be that if I couldn’t get out to work in my garden, I used to just sit there and twiddle my thumbs. Now I get on with my arts and crafts journals.
“Through the group, I see more people and I feel so much better about myself!”
The Local People project is funded by the People's Health Trust
, an independent charity addressing health inequalities across Great Britain. It makes grants using money raised by 51 society lotteries through The Health Lottery. Since 2015, Royal Voluntary Service has been working on six Local People's Projects
, funded through People’s Health Trust’s Local People Programme. These projects take a neighbourhood approach, engaging with local people and enabling them to address wider issues in their communities through collective action.
Posted by at 00:00
Tuesday, 11 September 2018.