Support service in Lancaster to relaunch as Bay Volunteers

A face-to-face and online event will take place on Saturday March 26 to celebrate the relaunch.

By Michelle Blade
Monday, 21st March 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd March 2022, 9:23 am

People can attend a face-to-face relaunch event at Hope Church, Queen Street, Lancaster, LA1 1RX, between 12pm and 3pm. You can book your in-person place here

An online session will be also held between 1pm and 2pm and people can access the session on Facebook here and YouTube here

People will be able to hear from different partners on how they got involved and will have the chance to tell Bay Volunteers how they can better support people in the Lancaster District. Refreshments will be provided at the beginning and end of the face-to-face event.

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Matt Parker. Bay Volunteers manager.

Bay Volunteers offers support seven days a week and is led by Matt Parker, Manager for Bay Volunteers, and a group of local volunteers.

It is supported by Hope Church Lancaster, Lancaster City Council, Lancaster District Community Hub, Lancaster District CVS, Lancaster and Bay Integrated Care Communities, Lancaster University Student Union and works in partnership with others too.

Currently, through its Support Line, Bay Volunteers offer the following types of support for those who need it:

a listening call/walk (befriending) for people who may be suffering from loneliness

Jamie Haxby, assistant pastor at Hope Church.

*doing and delivering grocery shopping

*collecting and delivering prescriptions

*collecting and/or delivering post and parcels, including food parcels.

Bay Volunteers is looking into other ways that they can support people in the community which may include but is not limited to, transport to medical vaccinations/appointments, digital buddies for those who need help using the NHS website and/or apps, and dog walking.

Matt Parker, manager for Bay Volunteers, said: “It’s really important to have a service like Bay Volunteers to support those people in the communities of the Lancaster District who require support but may not fit the criteria for support from other organisations in the area.

“We are looking for more volunteers to come forward and help us to run the service. Especially in the more rural and outlying areas of Lancaster. It’s really valuable for the service user to have someone who is based in that particular community with who they can build up a rapport – it also reduces travel time and costs for our volunteers.”

During the height of the pandemic, Jamie Haxby, Assistant Pastor at Hope Church Lancaster, along with a few others from the church, came up with the idea of the Lancaster District Support Line to operate during Covid-19 – a listening service for local people who were struggling with isolation.

The team at Hope Church, Lancaster City Council, Lancaster District Community Hub, Lancaster District CVS and Lancaster and Bay Integrated Care Communities soon identified that there was a need in the community for additional support such as doing and delivering grocery shopping, picking up and delivering prescriptions and picking up/delivering post or parcels too. Transport to and from vaccinations during the height of the vaccination programme was included later.

A volunteer and member of the Bay Volunteers core team, said: “I’ve been involved as a volunteer for the last 18 months. As I’m retired, I have lots of time so I’ve been able to take people to their vaccinations, undertake regular weekly shopping trips, pick up and drop off regular prescriptions, carry out weekly shopping pick-ups from Eggcup food club, top-up electricity cards and have regular weekly catch-ups with the lovely people I do regular shopping for. As well as being able to serve our local community, I’ve made some lovely friendships and discovered little streets and shops I’d never heard of before. What a great start to retirement! I highly recommend it!”

A member of the public who is a Bay Volunteers service user, said: “My volunteer has been absolutely amazing – a lifeline for me. My volunteer continues to go above and beyond for me to make sure that everything is done right. My volunteer was the only face that I saw for a long time and it meant so much to me to have my shopping done each week when I couldn’t and to have it delivered by such a friendly and joyful person too.”

Jamie Haxby, assistant pastor for Lancaster’s Hope Church who supports Matt in his role, said: “It’s been an absolute joy to be involved in Bay Volunteers at Hope Church. At Hope Church, we are passionate about bringing hope to our city, and this has been a fantastic outlet for that. We are so thankful to all the volunteers who have worked with us to make it happen. It is testament to the community spirit of the Lancaster District. We are very excited to see how things evolve going forwards and hope to make a real impact on the Lancaster District for good.”

Sarah Baines, Development Lead for Lancaster ICC, said: “Hope Church and their COVID support volunteers were literally life savers during the height of the 2020 pandemic. Without the support they provided to some really isolated people, NHS services locally would not have coped, as I'm certain we would have seen an increase in avoidable hospital admissions due to people's physical and mental health deteriorating. We know that loneliness can kill and Bay Volunteers provided critical support when it was needed most.”

You can find out more about Bay Volunteers at Hope Church’s website here on the Bay Volunteers YouTube channel here, or on any of the social media accounts of Bay Volunteers: Facebook here. Instagram here TikTok here Twitter here

If you are interested in volunteering for Bay Volunteers, you can contact Matt Parker at [email protected] or register to volunteer here.

All volunteers will be reference and DBS checked.