It’s that time of year again where all of us promise to make a change, be better, do better, be happier.
Turning those promises into reality is so much easier with a bit of support – and Lincolnshire Community and Voluntary Service (LCVS), a charity with a base in Spalding, provides free services to give that helping hand.
David Fannin, LCVS chief executive, said: “LCVS works to support community groups to reach their goals, provides free one-to-one health support to individuals and helps people find volunteering opportunities.
“Our entire ethos is about being at the heart of our communities, helping groups and individuals to make a difference to themselves and others.”
In the last financial year (April 2014-March 2015) in South Holland:
• LCVS placed 100 people in volunteering roles.
Marie Chapman, LCVS senior volunteering and community development officer, said: “Volunteering has so many benefits, not only for the many community groups and charities who need volunteers to function but also for individuals.
“Individuals can widen their social circle, learn a new skill, improve their employment prospects, rediscover an old hobby or just enjoy the satisfaction of knowing they are making a difference.”
Gary Peatling, manager of Spalding’s Oxfam shop, said LCVS played a significant role in keeping the shop open in 2014/15 by helping to recruit ten new volunteers.
• LCVS health trainers saw 165 people in South Holland on a personal health plan – giving one-to-one support to help them achieve their own personal health improvement goals.
Additionally, LCVS health trainers ran a number of short training courses helping specific groups of people, including offering healthier lifestyle advice to parents of young children, winter wellbeing advice for older people and support to help people take themselves out of the at-risk category for Type 2 diabetes.
Linda Coughtrey (63), of Lowgate, Lutton, heard about the LCVS pre-diabetes course just after her doctor told her she was at risk of developing the condition.
Bringing husband Michael (73) along for support, she attended the sessions in Spalding this summer.
She said: “The course was quite an eye opener. I didn’t realise so many food items had so much sugar in them, including some of the things you think of as nice healthy foods like bananas.”
The course included information on sugars and carbohydrates, portion sizes, food labelling, cooking, benefits of being active and other free services/events available.
On the course, retired care worker Linda discovered she may be eligible for referral by her doctor for 12 weeks of free sessions at the gym.
She had never been to a gym before but after her doctor agreed it would benefit her she not only attended the introductory 12 weeks but has continued to go along to sessions once to twice a week ever since.
She said: “I’ve quite caught the bug for going to the gym. I have lost just over a stone in weight and brought my blood pressure down.”
Linda is expecting to have a test soon to find out if she is still classified pre-diabetic but is hopeful her lifestyle changes have at least slowed the onset.
Health trainers provide informal, confidential and free advice and support to people aged 16 and over.
Jan Gould-Martin, LCVS senior health and social care officer, said: “Health trainers work with individuals to help them assess their specific needs and what may be preventing them from making healthy changes.
“We provide practical support and guidance to introduce new routines and activities, as well as sign-posting to additional useful or specialist services.
“That could include going along to a gym or swimming pool with a client to help them gain the confidence to join, signing them up for a course of free cooking lessons, helping a client to find a local exercise class or social group – which can be key to improving mental wellbeing and lead to a reduction in harmful habits.”
Anyone can arrange six to eight sessions with a health trainer – the location, time and frequency of the sessions to suit them.
lLCVS was involved in some way in supporting successful funding bids totalling £53,592 for projects in the district.
LCVS’s involvement can range from pointing groups towards a fund that is likely to support what it is trying to deliver, giving advice on what an application needs to evidence to be successful or looking through a failed application to help assess what went wrong.
LCVS community development officers also help groups get established and ensure they meet their responsibilities.
Charity is based at council offices
LCVS is a registered charity with teams in South Holland, South Kesteven, Boston and East Lindsey.
The service works to help community-minded individuals and groups to get established, achieve their goals and flourish through providing support with paperwork and governance, resources, sourcing funding and finding and training volunteers.
In addition, LCVS’s health trainers work with individuals to help them kick bad habits and get on the path to better health.
LCVS runs accredited volunteer centres in Spalding, Boston, Louth and Grantham.
Its health trainers work in South Holland, South Kesteven and Boston.
LCVS is based at the South Holland District Council offices, in Priory Road, Spalding.
Contact them on 01775 718008 or email enquiry@ lincolnshirecvs.org.uk
Regular outreaches are held in towns and villages in the South Holland area – contact LCVS for details.