OPAL Services would like to thank the Marjory Boddy Charitable Trust http://marjoryboddy.co.uk/ and CWVA for recognising the work we are doing amid the Covid-19 pandemic in reducing social isolation and loneliness in older people in the rural communities of west Cheshire.
The Marjory Boddy Charitable Trust helps registered charities in Chester, West Cheshire or immediate surroundings areas, who can demonstrate that their activities or services deliver a direct benefit or meet the specific needs of groups or individuals within those local communities, particularly those who are vulnerable, disadvantaged or overlooked.
The grant will be hugely beneficial in helping us to keep our OPAL Reach newsletter reaching out as our options for delivering face-to-face activities for our older members once again diminish. Thank you to everyone at Marjory Boddy Charitable Trust. Your support is more valuable now than ever. Thank you too to CWVA @Chestervol for nominating us!
OPAL Services is delighted to announce that we have been awarded £10,000 in funding from the INEOS Community Fund. The money will be put to good use and will help us continue to support older people in rural west Cheshire through the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic and plan new developments to ensure our recovery into 2021.
The £1M INEOS Community Fund was established by INEOS Chairman Sir Jim Ratcliffe in March 2020 in tandem with the company’s COVID-19 “Hands On” campaign, which set up new production lines to provide millions of bottles of free hand sanitiser per month to hospitals and frontline healthcare. The fund enables INEOS sites across the world to support the charitable organisations doing vital work in their local communities at this particularly difficult time.
Kayleigh Nichols, Group Human Resources Manager at INEOS Enterprises said: “OPAL Services is a wonderful initiative for our older people. Its inspiring volunteers make a huge different at the heart of their community, offering the opportunity for many to experience, fun, enjoyment and companionship. We are delighted that we can help the organisation support the needs of local people in these difficult times.”
This Carers Week, is about Making Caring Visible for unpaid carers, that are looking after a family member or friend who has a disability, mental or physical illness, or who needs extra help as they grow older.
In the last survey of carers (2011) there were over 37,000 unpaid carers living in Cheshire West.
Often carers feel isolated and they are seven times more likely to say they are lonely. Caring can be rewarding but also challenging, and many carers are currently dealing with more challenges than ever before. It is important that carers know how to look after their own health and wellbeing, and that we all recognise the contribution that carers make. Caring impacts on all aspects of life, from relationships and health to finances and work, and this should not be underestimated, and caring without the right information and support can be tough.
OPAL runs two successful projects that support carers living rurally. These are BreakTime and Carers Connect.
Volunteers Week 2020 ends today but this year has been a Volunteer’s Week to remember.
Our celebrations were restricted due to coronavirus but we managed to deliver over 200 goody bags to volunteers in and around rural West Cheshire. This was our Thank You to all our amazing OPAL volunteers, who between them have given more than 419 hours a week in the last year to prevent social isolation in older people in rural West Cheshire. Their response during Coronavirus has been fantastic and has ensured that our Members have continued to feel supported in uncertain times.
The goody bags, lovingly put together by our OPAL fairies, contained an afternoon tea, with a scone, some clotted cream and local jam, courtesy of Co-op, Berry Fresh Bakery and Clotton Hall Dairy and delivered courtesy of the Malpas Minibus. Also in the bags were a copy of our latest OPAL newsletter OPAL Matters, a newly branded OPAL badge together with a certificate and letter of thanks from Janet our Volunteer Coordinator and Jane, Chair of our OPAL Board of Trustees. The afternoon teas were enjoyed by all.
On Friday we ended the week with a Zoom get-together when over 50 of our volunteers joined us to celebrate our recent Queen’s Award and other successes.
OPAL is delighted to announce that on 2nd June 2020 we were awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services.
The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteergroups across the UK to recognise outstanding work done in their own communities. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of The Queen’s coronation. It is the MBE for volunteer groups.
Jane Colville, OPAL Chair, acknowledged the work of all the volunteers who support the charity – “all our wonderful Volunteers have earned this very prestigious national award in recognition of their hard work, commitment and skill. It is such an honour to receive an award of this kind.
During lockdown, our Volunteers have had to adapt to ensure we can still support older people and their Carers and they have done so swiftly and enthusiastically. With the help of telephone befriending, a weekly news publication and regular Zoom sessions with guest speakers we are managing to keep supporting”.
Cllr Val Armstrong, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health said, “It is wonderful news that OPAL Services have been awarded the Queens Award for Voluntary Service. OPAL volunteers provide vital services in some of our rural communities.
I have volunteered with OPAL and I know just how much their work helps to reduce loneliness and keep people connected to their communities. All the volunteers and staff fully deserve this recognition of their commitment and dedication.”
To celebrate this news and in recognition of Volunteer Week, all OPAL volunteers received an OPAL goody bag with afternoon tea and are joining in a virtual Zoom thank you party at the end of the week.
The Marshes Community Benefit Fund has once again granted funding to OPAL Services. The funding is for the OPAL Branching Out service which operates in the Frodsham and Helsby areas. Over the next year this funding will assist in the recovery phase of COVID – 19 and also going forward.
Our thanks go to the Marshes Community Benefit Fund for their help and practical support.
OPAL has received news from Cheshire West and Chester Council that our Community Response Fund application has been successful. This very welcome funding will help us to continue our work through the Covid19 pandemic.
This is great news because it means we can continue delivering all our befriending and support services to existing members and can also now consider supporting additional people through this difficult time. We are extremely grateful for Cheshire West’s and The Westminster Foundation’s support at a time when our normal fundraising activities have been brought to a standstill.