Friendship Calls Participant – Maude

Maude has been receiving the befriending phone calls since March 2022. She was originally referred as she was going through a really hard time, her partner had passed away suddenly and she had a range of health issues, the only thing Maude said brought her any joy was her Border Collie.

Maude was not sure receiving the calls was the right choice for her but decided to give it a try, the first few calls were a bit of a challenge, but our volunteer persevered with them and after a few calls they became fast friends.

Maude has said her volunteer must have a sixth sense as she always rings when she needs someone to talk to, she recently had some bad news, and her volunteer rang that afternoon, and they talked through all of the problems and Maude realised it wasn’t quite as bad as she originally thought.

The calls last on average 45 mins and the have covered such a wide range of topics, Maude has said she enjoys the talks so much as they always give her something new to think about, an example of this was the volunteers ideas about religion and how it’s a personal choice for every individual, Maude is a practicing Christian and they conversation made her broaden her scope of understanding of other people’s religious ideology. 

Friendship Call Volunteer – Carol

Carol recently starting volunteering with us, she has been making the befriending calls for a month now. She original came after a social prescriber thought she would be a good fit to receive the calls, we did the initial assessment and very quickly realised that volunteering would suit her perfectly. 

Carol said she was in a negative mind space as her children were in full time school and she had lost her focus in life. She realised that making the phone calls would be the perfect fit for her, as she could do the calls while her children in school. She was originally apprehensive about making the calls as she wasn’t sure what conversation topics would be. After her first call she rang and was so over the moon as the conversation flowed naturally and she loved every second of it.

Carol originally asked to make 2 or 3 calls a week, by the end of her first day she had made over 10 calls and now averages 10+ calls a week. She said she is now beginning to feel like her old self again and has found a new passion for life.

Energy Know How

By Sharon Smith and Lynn Clarkson, Community Energy Advisors

I met with Sam at the Social Supermarket at Rotherham Minster. Sam had popped in for a warm, cup of tea and a chat. Sam confirmed that they looked after their partner who had suffered with back problems since they were 17 years old. They were both claiming benefits and Sam confirmed that they were worried about the energy crisis and frightened to use their energy to warm the home. Sam struggled to read and write and suffered angina and diabetes.  Sam’s partner felt the cold in the home exasperated the difficulties they had with pain in their back. I asked Sam if they had any draughts in the home and Sam confirmed that the door and windows did let a draught through.  I therefore mentioned the Green Doctor services and the client was more than happy to be referred for contact by them.  Sam confirmed that they were happy that they were claiming all benefits entitled to them.  I mentioned Rotherham Borough Council Energy Crisis Support Scheme and the client had not heard of this before. Sam confirmed that they had £91 per month left out of their benefits when all necessary bills and essential items had been paid for. I offered to submit a form online to the council for the client for a call back and Sam was delighted for me to do this. The client was happy with the winter warm pack I gave them and said all the items would be very useful. The client confirmed that they were glad they had popped into Rotherham Minster as they were made to feel welcome, listened to and part of the community. Sam thanked Rotherfed for all the information and assistance and was more than happy for me to call them in two to three weeks for an update of their circumstances.

Event day at Riverside House – Citizen Advice Community Fair

By Martin O’Donoghue, Julie Fletcher and Neelam Rhuksar, Making Our Money Go Further Project Workers

K came to the fair with her partner. Not seeking any particular support and probably feeling a little lost, K just by chance, came to the Making Our Money Go Further (MOMGF) table, we began to chat, and K was quite open about how she was feeling, what was happening in her life, at one point K did get little tearful. On the day she felt very alone, low in mood and isolated with her situation.

K and her partner had been in full time work, but due to a recent illness her partner is unable to return to work. Over the past months K’s partner has been diagnosed with an illness that makes it difficult for him to work. (This is life changing, in itself and brings about many worries). K has been on maternity leave but is not able to go back to work.

Their family’s lives have completely changed. A lot of this is out of the control of K and the future looks bleak, for her and her family. They do not know how they will manage financially.

After having a conversation with K, which involved explaining about MOMFG and passing information on, we discovered that she lived near a library that holds a coffee morning and an open arms event, K did say “if she felt strong enough to come along one morning she would.” 

We directed her to the next stall, who could extend the support she needed. (Cortonwood Comeback Centre).

K won the slow cooker on the day of the event, so we invited her to come along to Greasbrough to the open arms on Thursday 9th March 2023.

K came along and this is what she told us –

“Cortonwood Comeback, have helped. My situation has changed in just a short time, and MOMGF you have helped me so much you have encouraged me to reach out and access other services”
“I am Having hot meals at the centre. “ 
“Been out my own, I Feel more confident, and I am Ready to join in more groups”.
“I Would like to join a make do and mend group or upcycling group”.

Maltby Winter Wellbeing Event

By Martin O’Donoghue, Julie Fletcher and Neelam Rhuksar, Making Our Money Go Further Project Workers

Maltby Joint Service Centre is a fantastic community hub that already supports residents with their health, fitness, and wellbeing. Facilities within the centre include the Library, leisure centre, Manor Fields Doctors, Pharmacy and additional NHS referral services.

On Saturday 18 February, Ward Councillors from both Maltby East Ward and Hellaby and Maltby West Ward invited local community organisations to support residents’ wellbeing.

Residents were able to gain advice around the cost-of-living, household budgeting, information on local activities and social group meetings, home security and support from Rotherham Council Employment Solution Team.

Rotherham Federation of Communities (Rotherfed) attended, who offer a free service to Rotherham residents who need advice, support and guidance regarding their personal finances. Rotherfed has supported Maltby Foodbank, as well as groups and individuals within the Maltby and Hellaby area for many years. You can follow this link to view their Maltby and Hellaby, Making Our Money Go Further, Facebook page.

At the event, Rotherfed gave advice ranging from good shopping practice to helping people understand and reduce energy costs. You can find out more information on their dedicated Energy Know How, website page.

Craft Tabletop event at Dalton Community Group

By Rachel Cole, Senior Projects Officer

The Dalton Community group have been trying to improve their capacity and their offer to the community. They already have several services attend the monthly session regularly such as local electorates Cllr Bennet-Sylvester and Cllr Baker-Rogers. The session is also regularly attended by RMBC housing.

Continue reading “Craft Tabletop event at Dalton Community Group”

Greasbrough Parents Evening

By Martin O’Donoghue, Julie Fletcher and Neelam Rhuksar, Making Our Money Go Further Project Workers

After attending the parents evening and talking to families we received this email from someone we had engaged with:

Good morning,
I don’t know if you remember me from when you came to the parents’ evening at Greasbrough School, and I took some recipes and said I would give you a review. So as promised I have sent you some photos of the slow cooker doner kebab, here is what we thought:
I cooked slow cooker doner kebab throughout the week for myself and my family. This was really low cost and tasted amazing. We love a kebab from a takeaway, but this was by far much tastier and much healthier which was a bonus. We will definitely be having this again, thank you for the recipe.

The Wishing Well Gardens

By Rob Gooding, Community Organiser

Wishing Well Gardens is a small group that formed around six months ago with a focus on improving the green spaces around their community centre, based at the Lings community centre. The group have already started to make a huge difference to the area, supported by Rotherham Council and funded by the Ward Housing Hubs, the group have transformed the area around the community centre to create a beautiful garden area.

The group supported by housing staff arranged for community caretakers to remove the self-set bushes from the area giving them the blank canvas they needed to start their first project. After a successful bid to the ward housing hubs for the tools and plants they needed the project began to pick up pace and was recently finished. I believe this project demonstrates how the ward housing hubs working with residents and staff can really make a difference to local areas.

The group are eager to start the next part of their project, this is going to be a community allotment plot close to the centre where they plan to use gardening as a means to improve residents physical and mental health by growing fresh fruit and veg that all residents can access as they need with any surplus being donated to a local food bank.

Friendship Call Participant – Clarissa

Clarissa has been receiving the befriending phone calls since November 2020. She originally received the befriending calls every week, is now on to fortnightly calls with the aim of ending the calls by the end of March. She was originally referred because she was very lonely and isolated, she suffered with depression and anxiety and Covid made everything feel worse for her. She only enjoyed playing on her PlayStation and watching tv.

She has spoken with the same experience volunteer since the beginning of 2021, in the space of time they have covered a wide range of topic and have got Clarissa to the point where she feels like she no longer needs to receive weekly calls. Clarissa is now going out a lot more often and feels her depression and anxiety are at a manageable level now and she feels like she can cope without the weekly support.

Her volunteer has been weaning off the calls so instead of over and hour call they are down to about 20 minutes and the plan is to gradually reduce the time until they are no longer needed completely.