A Day Out with James: Neighbours Connect Southmead

You may remember in our last update I was new in my job managing Neighbours Connect Southmead.  Since then, I have been really busy and loving the role.  I’ve been getting to know the existing members of the Neighbours Connect project and meeting new members. 

The way that Neighbours Connect Southmead works is that Bristol City Council identify residents who need our support, and it refers people to our service.  This is usually because a social worker has been in touch with the resident and can see that they require some additional support.  We also occasionally accept referrals from other services such as Sirona and St Mungo’s.

We sometimes connect residents with a volunteer from our team who supports someone, usually once a week, with things like attending hospital appointments, going shopping, helping household tasks, or go for a coffee or a walk. 

One of my favourite days in the job so far was my day out with James, and Jane – a new volunteer.  James was referred by a social worker following a long hospital stay.  He needed some support to settle into his new home and help him to create a new routine so that he’s doing things that are important to him.

James picked out some new clothes in Primark, and Jane and I enjoyed being his stylist for the afternoon.  We then all had a coffee together in the pink café in the store and made good use of the photo opportunity!  

Doing the things that have meaning and are important to each of us help to keep us all healthy and well.  And they can help to keep people from becoming unwell and needing to go to hospital in the first place. 

We loved some feedback we had from Guy Taylor, a Social Worker – he was very impressed with the relationship between one of our volunteers and the local resident we matched them with.  He thinks our volunteer has an “incredibly positive impact on the participants life”. 

If you have some spare time to volunteer, we’d love to hear from you.  We offer training to get your started, and you will be supported by myself and our Volunteer Co-ordinator Alex.   If you would be interested, please contact Alex, email: alexbennett@southmead.org, tel: 0117 950 3335.