Time for tea in Southmead? Absolutely!

Southmead residents are being given the opportunity to get involved in a new initiative to support local people in their community. The project is called Neighbours Connect Southmead and does exactly what it says on the tin – connecting volunteers with local people who are isolated in order to develop greater connectedness and neighbourliness.

From sharing a cup of tea with an isolated older person, to going with someone to a new group or helping them with their weekly shop, Neighbours Connect Southmead is looking for local residents who are interested in becoming Volunteer Community Supporters. In this interview, Letty Anderton, Volunteer Coordinator answers all your burning questions about the project.

Tell us about your role Letty?

I’m the Volunteer Coordinator for Neighbours Connect Southmead and work to recruit, train and support Volunteer Community Supporters.

You aren’t new to Southmead are you?

You’re right – you may well have seen me before in my previous role as the CASS Networker for North Bristol, working to raise awareness of mental health within the community. I’m excited about being involved in this new project.

Who is delivering Neighbours Connect Southmead?

This project is being delivered by Southmead Development Trust in partnership with Adult Social Care. Those who will receive support through Neighbours Connect Southmead will be referred through Adult Social Care.

What do you hope will be achieved through this project?

We think that a strong community is one that is connected to each other, where neighbours look out for each other and where people feel part of things. We know that this sense of community is strong in Southmead and we want to be part of growing this locally through the project.

How will you match Volunteer Community Supporters with those they are supporting?

You’ll be matched with someone based on your interests and experience and we’ll support you to meet with them regularly. For example, if you are a chess enthusiast, we’ll match you with someone else who is a keen player!

Who can get involved?

Anyone can apply to volunteer as a Community Supporter. We value all kinds of experience that you might have and welcome anyone who has an interest in being involved.

How much time will a Volunteer Community Supporter need to give?

Most roles will involve supporting someone in the community for an hour or two a week, but you are welcome to give as much or as little time as you like!

So it sounds like lots of a tea will be made through this project! What’s your favourite biscuit with a cuppa?

It’s got to be shortbread. Yum yum.

If you would like to find out more about becoming a Volunteer Community Supporter for Neighbours Connect, check out our website www.southmead.org or get in touch with Letty Anderton on 0117 950 3335/07498 763 465 or email lettyanderton@southmead.org.