Community Care – AGM

East Leake Community Care

The AGM of East Leake Community Care Association took place on Monday 11 October 2021 at St Mary’s Church Hall, East Leake, beginning at 8 pm

Please see below for the reports from all the support groups:

Chair’s Report October 2021
Overall, it has been a quiet year. On Christmas Day Jackie Siddell, Danny Stowell, and Kay Wilson kindly delivered Christmas bags to elderly people in the community. The bags were gladly received and we thank them for delivering them.  The transport scheme kept us in touch with the people in the village as we never
stopped giving people lifts to their medical appointments. Maggie Gordon devised a new guide for drivers to keep both drivers and customers safe during Covid. We managed to recruit new drivers, but we are always looking for more.  When the Covid vaccinations started, we helped out Sutton Bonington with getting
people to the vaccination centres.  We also reviewed some of our policies, which is an ongoing process.
I am glad that we are able to offer all services again. A big thank you has to go to Maggie Gordon who wrote all the new risk assessments.  The shopper’s bus was the last of the services to start at the end of September. A
new cleaning routine had to be implemented. We have a new minibus, which is slightly smaller, but gives a smoother ride. After many years of being an active member of the association, Hazel Staley has decided to take a well-earned retirement. I’ve only known her for a few years and she has been very helpful. She has been an area organiser for many years.
Gisela Petschler
October 2021

The Covid 19 pandemic was something which could never have been envisaged when the East Leake Community Care Association was set up in 1972, but the framework of the organisation was ideally suited to help in the situation we all found ourselves in.  In March 2020 Community Care started working in partnership with the Parish Council and the newly set up Food bank, the remit of C.C being to
look after the elderly and vulnerable of the village. The existing Area Organiser network and our various services made us ideally placed to know who might require help and with 22 new volunteers
offering to help and our existing volunteers we were ready when the calls came in and there were many especially in the first lockdown.  Over the last 19 months and, yes, we are still receiving calls and continuing
with some tasks, we have collected and delivered prescriptions, shopped and delivered, walked dogs, watered plants, provided help and support over the telephone to lonely, scared and shielding people and much more. All of this being done by our volunteers, conscientiously, cheerfully and with patience.
Sadly because of the circumstances we found ourselves in, many of the new volunteers were just a voice over the telephone or contact by text message, so never met you in person due to lockdown. I may have passed you by in the village without realising who you were, but hopefully as all those who volunteered were invited to tonights meeting, we may get a chance of meeting later. Our Chairman I know will wish to thank you on behalf of the Management Committee of the Community Care Association but now I would like to personally thank you all, those that are here tonight and those who were unable to attend, from the bottom of my heart. You helped so many people in so many ways and I am so grateful to all of you as are the many people you
Maggie Gordon October 2021.

After such a long time of contact only by telephone, visiting where mutually agreed has resumed.
We have 10 befrienders and 11 friends (one befriender visits two people). Sadly in the last year one visit which had been in place for 3 years, ceased with the death of the friend in June. The friendship and support which
developed over this time was very much appreciated and the befriender developed a real affection for the person they visited. This example of friendship is replicated many times by our other volunteers.
We match all our ‘friends’, times and frequency of visits are agreed and hopefully over time the friendship develops and benefits both the friend and visitor.
I receive many requests for this service, from social prescribers and family members who live at a distance but can only help if I have enough volunteers. So once again, please if you feel you would like to help with this, contact me.
Maggie Gordon. October 2021.

Before writing this report I looked back over some previous years reports and I must say I was very envious of the many activities and outings that we were able to do pre pandemic but obviously not for some time.
However, WE ARE BACK! in our 26th year, sadly, having to miss our quarter of a century anniversary last year, but so pleased to be able to meet in person once more. For 24 years we met every 2 weeks in the Health Centre and thank the doctors and management most sincerely for allowing us to use their
premises all that time. The pandemic has caused us to rethink the way we meet, so very recently, thanks to the Clerk and Parish Council we have started meeting in the Parish Office, still on alternate Thursdays but in the afternoon instead of the evening. The group was not without contact during the lockdowns, they are very
good at supporting and keeping in contact with each other and they have had regular phone calls from the group organisers. Newly bereaved people have also been contacted and support offered and now that we have an established new meeting place I am sure some will join the group. Times have changed since the groups inception all those years ago. Back then there was little or no support in the village for bereaved people but now thankfully there are many more support groups which can be accessed in the early days of bereavement . Then comes the time when things are not so raw but you are still on your own, so I have been giving some thought to starting a group for people who are on their own whether it be through bereavement, divorce or single for other reasons. This would be a social group, self sufficient, meeting in a pub or similar venue on a regular basis and organising their own activities. Early days as yet but may be more to report next year.

I think that it’s only if you have been a full time carer yourself that you can begin to understand how fulfilling but also how mentally and physically draining it can be looking after the person you love 24 hours a
day, 7 days a week, with little or no time to yourself. Often with no experience of this role and with often little statutory help a carer can feel truly alone, this is when hopefully Community care can be of help. Carers may sometimes find it hard to let go of their caring role, but if they are able to, then having a couple of hours to themselves , confident that their loved one is safe and secure, can have a very positive effect on their well being. Sadly during the pandemic 3 of the cared for people died and 1 entered a residential home. I am very grateful to all our sitters, some of whom have had a personally challenging year themselves, for their on going commitment to their volunteering role. As our population ages and there is increasing pressure on our care
system we need more volunteers to take on this worthwhile and rewarding service, so I would ask if anyone feels they may be able to help to please contact me.
Maggie Gordon. October 2021.

After a long break Community Care’s Tea and Cakes Afternoon is back on again and there is plenty to be had of both at the Methodist Church Hall every Wednesday afternoon between 2.30pm and 3.30pm. A risk assessment had to be done before we could restart and because of the current situation some things are a little different. Socially distanced seating, the wearing of masks by the T team and plenty of fresh air circulating are now something we are used to. A Covid symptoms check and register on entrance are also part of the new regime. Attendance has been good and the old buzz is back. The Tea team have been joined by two new members who have fitted in well and make delicious cakes. Hirrel, who kindly made cakes for us before the pandemic has been incapacitated for a while. We wish her well, hopefully she will be back soon with her delicious cakes and scones. Fortunately we have just acquired a new volunteer who is happy to make cakes for us which is a great help. Some of you will be aware that Cynthia’s husband is seriously ill so she has been unable to attend teas for a while but is still very much in theloop. We send her and Trevor our very best wishes. So on behalf of Cynthia and myself – Thank you to our team of drivers who transport those unable to attend without help and Thank you to all the Tea Team who have slotted seamlessly back into their old routine, for taking on the increased hygiene precautions and for always sending people home with tummies full of cake and a smile on their faces.
Maggie Gordon. October 2021.

Memory Café Report 2021
Our first meeting was Tuesday 31/08/21 after a long gap we last met on 10th March 2020 , everyone fitted right back, just as before. It was a little strange making sure we were keeping everyone Covid safe and following the rules remembering these are vulnerable people, not to mention the volunteers who are all of a ‘certain age’. So, after three weeks in maintaining a good number, we are sadly reminded that 3 of our regular
members have died and 3 are now in care homes and unable to attend. We have been very pleased to welcome 4 new couples to joined us. Sadly, our members with dementia have deteriorated due to the confusing time, lack of extra stimulation, and the nature of the illness this was inevitable and sad truth. The carers are exhausted and some have been taken ill themselves. We are continuing our format of welcome with a drink and biscuits (individually wrapped). Laid out on the tables are our specially purchased jigsaws to enable different abilities and stages of dementia complete without feeling frustrated that they cannot achieve. The jigsaws are large pieces to help with dexterity as well as various topics from pets to gardens to famous places which can also be used for topics of conversation and reminiscence. As before, we are using puzzles, crosswords and word searches, all tried and tested activities. When we met before l had used colouring books and they weren’t very popular so l stopped using them. One of our new members has requested colouring so they are on hand to reintroduce. One lady wanted to do knitting and l provided wool and needles and although she said she couldn’t do it anymore she immediately started knitting; it’s always worth trying different types of activities that stimulate especially if it’s something they used to do. l tried it with another lady and she didn’t want to do it. People are individuals whether they have dementia or not, so we must adjust accordingly. It’s lovely to see how people chat to one another and are already starting to share and our
wonderful volunteers are at hand to help, reassure and chat. As the sessions draw to a close, we end with a reminiscence time. We have chatted about our first jobs, how much we earned in these jobs, school dinners everyone seemed to remember and like the puddings best, washing methods, powders and soap; we all have memories of carbolic soap, shoes, whether work wear or just our everyday dress, who had ever heard of trainers when we were young, holidays, it is a great way of getting people to remember the past and talk about it. There will be many more subjects to come. We then do some chair-based excises, we are very fortunate to have a volunteer who is experienced in doing this she does it to music. We do singing ,a very popular
activity is Musical bingo, songs instead of numbers on their cards and music is played and mark off
until you have a winner. A previous member’s family very kindly donated some money when she died and we brought song books. The lady’s favourite song was ’bring me sunshine’. The book had it in, the family came along to hear us sing from the books and, of course, we sang ‘bring me sunshine’. We have had some varied visitors come along and as soon as it is allowed and safe l will be asking them back again.The fire brigade came and gave us a short talk on safety and handed out leaflets as guides. We were also reminded that they can come to our houses to check our safety and provide and fit fire alarms all free of charge.
We have had children from Brookside school come to sing to us, which was a real treat, and we also
had the opportunity to sing along to them. One Easter they came along in their bonnets that they
had made at school. Arlo, the pat-dog, has made a few visits, he is very gentle dog and loves to be given treats.
We have also had a visit from a miniature horse who has a beautiful mane and we can stroke him and brush his mane; he wears a specially nappy, so no fear of toilet problems! I hope you realise we have a very varied programme, yes, we are there with information advice and friendship, but our theme is to bring variety and fun which is very important in everybody’s lives. I would like to give a big thank you to all our volunteers who faithfully attend our meetings and have not quivered when asked to do extra cleaning for Covid reasons; they are a very large part of the success of the Memory Cafe.
Anne Prothero

Thank you for everyone who has helped and volunteered and if you would like to see the Minutes of the AGM please get in touch.