A Snow Angels Scheme for Tarvin?
For some time now the Parish Council has been exploring the possibility of developing a formalised 'good neighbour' scheme in the parish. They have been in discussion with a company called Snow Angels who are involved in the establishment and development of a number of community resilience schemes within Cheshire.
The Snow Angels concept started in North America where winters can be very severe, and has spread widely. The local Snow Angels organisation aims to provide support for the frailer members of society throughout the year by providing access to volunteers willing to undertake simple neighbourly tasks such as putting out the bins, shopping, lifts to hospital or odd jobs. Of course there are a number of examples of this kind of service already in the area, provided by the churches and by the many, many ordinary good neighbours who simply do these things out of kindness. But Tarvin has an ageing population and the provision of state and local authority help is under great pressure, so there may well be a growing need.
On November 11th, Snow Angels organised a Health Fair in the Methodist Church which brought together some of the organisations and services currently available. Unfortunately it was poorly attended, though informal discussions with some of the visitors indicated that there was some support for a good neighbour service.
There are two main difficulties to be overcome however before a scheme can be established:
Funding – such schemes are not expensive but they do need some funds to get going and, perhaps more importantly, keep going. There is money available sometimes from the Health Service – Clinical Commissioning Groups – who see such initiatives reducing emergency admissions to hospital and to supporting post-hospital discharges. Parish Council funds, particularly the New Homes Bonus, may also be disappearing (see article Hands off the Bonus) thus making local support more difficult.
Management and Volunteers – though Snow Angels have created training programmes and simple management systems for such schemes, they can only run if there are enough volunteers to come forward. So many of the good things in the parish already run on volunteers' effort so the pool of willing helpers might not be large. The Parish Council cannot run the scheme itself and the churches, though very supportive, feel unable to take on a central role. Also, in areas where such schemes have been established, there has been an existing organisation to provide a focus and physical presence for the scheme, e.g. Neston Angels and Community Activities Neston and Ashton Snow Angels and Ash-Worth Time Bank.
What next? The Parish Council is reluctant to give up the idea so will be meeting representatives of Snow Angels to see how this idea might progress. However it would welcome the views of local people and urges residents to get in touch. Please call Councillor Sue Hardacre on 01829 741962 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact the Parish Clerk on 01829 741075 or Miketarvinparish@aol.com
Your views and comments would be much appreciated.