It feels as though it’s been a long time coming, in fact as long as I have been with Touchstone, but finally in February, we received the news that Touchstone will continue to deliver the Sikh Elders Service to the community.
All of us are incredibly excited about this. A huge sigh of relief from the whole team (we didn’t really ever doubt it) very quickly followed by the SES Service Manager Charanjit Oshan making plans with us to start the mammoth task of coordinating the future delivery of the service.
I feel very lucky to work as part of a passionate and committed staff team, but in addition to that I often marvel at how as a team we work creatively to meet the needs of our diverse service users. Anything from fundraising, running groups, trips and activities, intense case load, recruiting and working alongside volunteers and much, much more. It means more than ever we need to look towards collaboration, co-working and partnership as a means to deliver on our future targets. So welcome, Spring!
Now coming to a close, Winter Wellbeing programme delivered by Sikh Elders Service, proved a hugely successful twelve week programme which has seen fifteen of our most vulnerable service users benefit from a number of crucial services.
According to my colleague Chani, the programme has increased awareness in the community of support services they can access in emergencies and to assist them in living independently. The introduction of Kang’s Punjabi Box as a food parcel provider now means that they can engage with that service at any time, for example at the time of hospital discharge whilst also ensuring their cultural needs are met.
Key beneficiaries of the programme included a couple in their 80’s, one of which is suffering from dementia and both of them reluctant to leave the house in colder months. Their allocated volunteer shopper remained the same throughout the twelve weeks which means a lasting relationship has been built and they loved seeing a familiar face.
The couple said “It’s been a blessing having you around. Don’t give up once the project finishes”. The volunteer explained “my daughter came with me once and she felt that I (her mum) am doing a great service to our community and she felt proud of me and wants me to continue. It gave me a great sense of pride and achievement”.
The project has successfully reached the most vulnerable in the community at a time of year they are most in need. In fact given more time, Chani feels we could have reached at least double the number of service users.
Actively engaging volunteers in a timeframe of three months has given each volunteer a positive experience of the service and the community benefit of Touchstone, thereby engaging future commitment to our service. Crucially however, projects such as this, which work across volunteer and commercial services mean we can stretch our limited resources to reach a greater number of isolated elders. So keep watching this space – busy times are ahead for the service and team.
Amrit Kaur works as a Community Support Worker for Sikh Elders Service
To find out more about the Sikh Elders Service (SES), please visit their webpage.