Close Encounters Impact Report 2022/23
After the award of funding from the National Lottery Community Fund for the continuation of the Age UK Portsmouth and Gosport Voluntary Action Close Encounters project, in October 2022; here is an update on the work of Gosport Voluntary Action’s Advocacy and Befriending services over the last year. This could not be completed without the support and dedication of our wonderful Volunteer Befrienders and Volunteer Advocates and the GVA Close Encounters team would like to thank them all for their time and commitment.
There continues to be a steady number of referrals for Advocacy. Common support requested include benefits checks and help with benefits applications. The team have also helped with debt queries; understanding bills; insurance paperwork; funeral plans and wills as well as supporting individuals with housing options; complaints and getting equipment installed/replaced (O.T. referrals).
New ramp for Mr J following an O.T. referral – Mr J also has a new wet room
This year has seen the following confirmed successful outcomes:
Advocacy Non-financial Outcomes:
- 2 Blue badges
- 2 Bus passes
- 2 Ramps
- 1 Wet room
- 1 O.T equipment
Advocacy Financial Outcomes:
- 3 Attendance Allowance at Lower Rate
- 2 Attendance Allowance Higher Rate
- £770 Debt written off
- £200 vouchers awarded
The Befriending service continues to reduce social isolation with regular home visits or telephone calls. Referrals remain steady, though have slowed recently.
In November 2022 the first volunteer meeting since before the Covid pandemic was held. This was an opportunity for volunteers, new and old, to get together, exchange experiences and introduce the new Befriending staff members. Further meetings have occurred throughout the year and have included various topics for training.
Volunteer Meeting held in April which included training from The Environment Centre
In December, 25 of our service users who were alone over Christmas were provided an Oakhouse Foods meal following donations from some local businesses including: Limburns, Deep Blue Financial, Novaseal Ltd, Southern Coop and Optom-eyes, whilst two Christmas hampers were donated by Brune Pharmacy. All were gratefully received, and donations allowed for a further dinner to be offered at Easter. Thank you to all those who made donations, provided and delivered these to residents.
Brune Pharmacy donated some Christmas hampers to our Service Users
In August, GVA returned to offering a CHAT (Come Here and Talk) group to some of our service users. These are group befriending sessions hosted by two volunteers currently running once a month.
CHAT group participants
If you would like to find out more about our Advocacy and Befriending projects, please contact Laura: E: email@example.com or T: 023 9260 4686