RVS Community Voice Project

Care to Listen…..? Listen to Care

The Royal Voluntary Service was recently fortunate to obtain four years’ funding from the Big Lottery’s Community Voice programme to develop a research and engagement  project in residential care homes across Newport, Monmouthshire, Caerphilly and Blaenau Gwent.  Community Voice aims to give people a voice to influence decisions about services in their area.  Our project, which started in early 2014, works very closely with the residential care providers, placing volunteers in residential care homes so that they can help identify ways in which the services could be more tailored to suit the views and concerns of the residents and their families.

The Royal Voluntary Service has a long history of working with older people (76 years to be exact!) and we have found that older people in residential care are more likely to open up to volunteers about their lives and needs, particularly if they don’t have friends and family.  The project very much focuses on dignity choice and quality of life.

The Aneurin Bevan Health Board has a similar project underway (CHAaT) working in nursing homes across Gwent and we share our results and examples of good practice – and there are lots of these.

In Caerphilly, volunteers are currently talking with older people and their families in two care homes – one managed by the Local Authority and the other privately.  As an introduction to the care home, we always start off with a tea party when we can explain our project to residents, their families and staff and have some fun at the same time!  Our last party took place in March and entertainment was provided by the Caerphilly Lions Ukelele Band who played music which everyone remembered and loved… and some of the residents enjoyed a dance too!

I’m the Service Manager and Cath MacArthur is the Volunteer Co-ordinator.  My role is to manage and develop the project, liaise with the providers and to support a Project Board.  The Project Board has members from Social Services, NHS, Care Home managers, families and volunteers – and, of course, the Chair of Caerphilly 50+ Forum.

Cath is recruiting volunteers to work with older residents. We are looking for volunteers from all walks of life.  Background isn’t as important as the ability to observe, listen and communicate.  Basically, empathy with older people and a kind and caring approach are necessary attributes and we shall be looking for this when recruiting our volunteers.  We will provide all the necessary training required as well as the DBS checks.

So if you feel you would like to volunteer, or just find out more about the project, please do contact me.  Details are:

Nina Finnigan, Service Manager, Royal Voluntary Service

Email: nina.finnigan@royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk                     Phone: 07436531165