Volunteering and working together: Annette Brooke shares some thoughts on new health and social initiatives in Broadstone

The Harvey Practice in Broadstone is one of several GP practices in Dorset to take up the challenge from Altogether Better, which operates on behalf of the NHS, to recruit Practice Health Supporters. Currently people are being identified who are prepared to voluntarily give their time to work with staff to find new ways to improve the services that the practice offers, and to help to meet the health needs of patients and the wider community. The Practice has recently held its first training session for volunteers to explain the scheme and to explore ways in which volunteers might assist. The Practice is particularly interested in assisting its GPs to signpost patients to activities and/or supporters to provide non medical support where appropriate. So far ideas have included volunteers supporting others on the basis of their own experiences as a carer or a patient, engaging in activities such as walking and gardening, and creating events such as coffee mornings. It is early days as yet and there are many opportunities for more people to volunteer, many more ideas to be explored and more training to be provided. Contact Megan Berry at the Practice for more information.

I have previously come across the term 'social prescription'. For example, a GP might recommend a patient takes up a new activity or joins a new group. It seems to me that this new initiative should expand the range of social prescriptions and also help build on existing activities already operating in our community. 

Broadstone Methodist Church does provide opportunities for the whole of the local community to meet up with other people through its daily coffee mornings, luncheon club, and the many activities which use the Church premises. This new initiative may facilitate some expansion. For example, the Stepping Stones Project, which supports carers, people with memory loss, and older people, currently holds a ‘drop in’ for tea, chat and activities once a month in the coffee lounge. There are additional Stepping Stones activities which could be developed such as a walking group or tea dances.

Together we can do even more to tackle issues such as isolation and loneliness.  

Broadstone Methodist Church along with the Broadstone Tuesday Club are aiming to provide a three course Christmas Lunch for those who will be spending Christmas Day alone. This is for folk of all ages and including lone parents with children. You are all welcome.

Come to the Christmas Service at 10.30am or meet in the Coffee Lounge at 11.30am. The cost is £5 per adult (no charge for children) and as space is limited we need to know numbers to help us with catering numbers. This is a first for us at Broadstone Methodists and we hope we will be able to continue with this in future years. As ever, we are thankful to everyone who has volunteered to help prepare, cook and clear away. Please do not be on your own on Christmas Day – young and old are welcome. Please contact Ann on 01202 849136 to book your place as soon as you can.

Working together across the whole community we can really strive for many ‘new beginnings’.

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