Message from our Chairman

Even though we’ve been in lockdown and self-isolating, the last few weeks have been pretty busy from a Link perspective.

Community First organised on-line Zoom meetings for all Link Coordinators and another one for all Link volunteers. At the coordinators meeting there was a presentation from Carers Support Wiltshire who, as the name suggests, provide support for anyone who is a carer. That isn’t just full time or paid carers; it includes everyone who helps look after someone else in any way, perhaps a partner or parent. Drivers might learn that a client is a carer and could do with some support. Let me know if you’d like some of the organisation’s leaflets to keep in your car.

The meeting for all volunteers was to provide a platform for all Link schemes to exchange ideas and ask questions. Some of the areas covered related to DBS checks, Covid vaccinations and the types of support provided by the different schemes. Let me know if you’d like further information.

Over the last few weeks, a small working group of committee members consisting of Pat Cook (Support Officer), Heather Newman (Secretary) and Dee Phesse (Coordinators representative) have been putting together a Website for Melksham Link. The website is now live (go to melkshamarealink.org) but it is a work in progress and not the finished article. If you have the skill and desire to help develop and manage the website, please contact one of the group or me. My thanks to Pat, Heather, and Dee and in particular to John Rowley who has actually created the website using the content provided by the working group.

Your coordinators are planning to start using a Link Database in the next few weeks and thanks to a grant from Community First we will be purchasing a laptop computer for their use.

A date for your diary and hopefully something to look forward to, Covid permitting, a lunchtime garden party for all volunteers at mine on Saturday 31st July.

Best wishes and Stay safe.
Richard

 

Number of journeys undertaken in 2020
What a difference a pandemic makes! As you can see our journeys numbers are much lower, but still a tremendous effort. Thanks go to the volunteers that continued working throughout
the year.

News from Dee, Coordinators Representative
It’s certainly been a busy time. I’ve had initial chats with new volunteers coming forward to help get clients to their Covid vaccinations. There’s also been a fairly steady flow of calls on the Link phone, so new drivers are a welcome addition to our existing team. Thanks to Pat Cook for dealing with all the paperwork etc.

A lot of time has gone into setting up our new website. The splinter group composed of Heather Newman, Pat Cook, and myself has had a number of zoom meetings in an attempt to get it up and running. Many thanks to our new volunteer John Rowley for his time and skill. We’re nearly there!

We’re still keen to get to grips with our database instead of writing everything down. There were some issues getting into the site, but Ron Walby is coordinating as I write and is hopefully having more success. Jo Harris is recovering well from recent surgery and expressed a wish to have a couple days coordinating. As face to face training is not possible at present, I sent her a video as a reminder of the training we did together pre-lockdown.

Frances O’Donohoe will continue her training face to face when it’s safe to do so. In the meantime, Ruth, Ron, Richard and myself are doing a week each which seems to be working well.

Stay safe
Dee

Starters & Leavers

  • Veronica Magri-Overend has retired after an incredible 15 years as a Driver
  • Sadly John Lambert died in December after a sort illness. John’s family chose link as the charity to receive donations in lieu of flowers.

Community First had a big push to get volunteer drivers to help the local Link schemes with the Covid 19 vaccination rollout, there was a terrific response from both companies and individuals.

A very big welcome and thank you t0

  • Jon Hall – Driver
  • Jennifer Johnson – Driver
  • Giulia & James Merrison – Driver
  • Michelle Dyer – Driver
  • Terri Welch – Driver
  • Mary Hardwidge – Driver

And finally we have a new volunteer who has been working on our new website.

  • John Rowley – Webmaster

Website
Richard has already mentioned in his report our new website https://www.melkshamarealink.org/ A big thank you to John Rowley who has designed the site, also to Dee Phesse, Pat Cook and Heather Newman who provided the content. Unfortunately we were hoping to use Melksham Link as the web address but this is already in use for the Melksham Canal Link. This is still a work in progress, at some point in the future useful documentation will be added for drivers and the other volunteers to access.

Summer Party: save the date
Yes a social event to add to your very empty diaries! Provided the government guidelines allow, Richard has kindly agreed to host the summer lunch party Saturday 31st July. More details to follow at a later date.

Open Door
Due to the government guidelines open door has been suspended since March 2020. Bridget and the other hostesses can’t wait to welcome clients and volunteers back when it is safe to do so.