It's hard to believe that TEN whole years have passed since Audlem & District Community Action (ADCA) was set up to take over the day club formerly run by Age Concern in Thornton House, but it is so!
We didn't expect to be celebrating in the middle of a pandemic – but this too is so! We weren't going to let Covid stop us (though we had to put up with some constraints).
So on Saturday 21 August a host of our volunteers, members, partners and local dignitaries assembled in Audlem Public Hall to be regaled with lively music from the wonderful Nantwich Concert Band and delicious afternoon tea with sandwiches and cakes, not to mention fizz!
We were delighted to welcome Deputy Police & Crime Commissioner David McNeilage, Audlem Ward Councillor Rachel Bailey, Cheshire East Community Development Officer Deb Lindop, Dr David Holden from Audlem Medical Practice and local police officer Nick Jarvis, a popular regular visitor and speaker at our clubs.
This was our opportunity not only to celebrate our ten year milestone, but also to publicly say THANK YOU to OUR VOLUNTEERS – both the trusty longstanders and the fresh newcomers who stepped forward with such alacrity in response to our call for help with the pandemic.
For ten years ADCA has been supporting senior citizens of Audlem and the surrounding area who find themselves isolated, or are frail or otherwise vulnerable, or lack family support, or have no transport.
Our volunteers help the staff team run our lunch clubs in Audlem, Hankelow and Broomhall & Sound, and our coffee clubs in Audlem and Hankelow, so that our members can enjoy pleasant social and physical activity and freshly prepared food in comfortable safe surroundings.
Volunteers help set up the venues, keep the tea and coffee flowing, help with serving and clearing lunch. Volunteers socialise with members so everyone feels included. Volunteers let staff know if members have any concerns or need extra help. Volunteers tidy up afterwards so that venues will be just as nice next time.
Volunteers help run the ADCA office, take calls, make bookings, keep records, handle payments, answer inquiries, copy and file, and make sure we don't run out of paper. Or toner.
Volunteers assist at group outings for members, often with the help of our partners at Overwater Wheelybus and Overwater Wheelyboat.
Volunteer drivers use their own cars to bring members without transport to the clubs, and take them home again afterwards (mileage expenses are paid).
Our Medical Transport Service is operated entirely by volunteer drivers (we do give them training!) and is available at a small charge to people who need help to get to and from medical appointments.
All our existing volunteers rallied round where they could as we set about supporting our own members and carers (as well as people who were isolating or shielding) through the stresses of lockdown, no lockdown, more lockdown, Christmas confusion, the vaccination programme, and – eventually! – gradual lifting of all restrictions. Our Coronavirus Home Support Service helped with shopping and prescription collection, as well as telephone support.
We were delighted to welcome many new volunteers at this time. Among other things, they have helped us reach even more people who might benefit from our services.
The pandemic has highlighted ever more sharply the real need for community-based organisations like ADCA and our partners in the wider rural area.
We can't say it loud enough: without our volunteers, NONE of this would – or could – happen.
ADCA is now slowly opening up its clubs again in accordance with government guidance and advice from Dr Matt Tyrer, Director of Public Health at Cheshire East, as well as input from Audlem Medical Practice.
It will take time for us to come back to full operational capacity, and sadly a number of our volunteers have had to leave us over the past year. We really need more volunteers to help us on an ongoing basis – volunteer drivers as well as volunteers to help with the clubs.
The larger our pool of volunteers, the more easily we can allocate roles and rotas so all volunteers are comfortable with their own level of engagement. All volunteers are DBS checked, and given appropriate training and support for working with potentially vulnerable people.
Whether you have a little or a lot of time that you'd be willing to use to help us out, we would love to hear from you!
If you think you would like to volunteer with ADCA, please contact our Community Services Manager, Tracey Humphries, on 07557 102108 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find more information on the ADCA website here.
Tickets (and horses!) are going fast for our Charity Race Night on Saturday 30 October
Have a great night out and help us raise funds for all our activities!
Read all about it here.