Good Companions (Charity no.1144729) was established in 2000, in response to a survey that identified a large number of older people living alone and in circumstances of social isolation.
The key objective of Good Companions is to provide a Home Visiting scheme in Clifton, Wilford and Silverdale (Nottingham) for these vulnerable people and matching them to local volunteers, who visit them to provide friendship and support.
The Home Visiting scheme is supplemented by four Friendships groups that operate from community venues across the Clifton estate. These groups provide tea, bingo and a place to chat. In normal times, Good Companions also arranges trips to Garden centers, the Panto and a boat ride down the Trent.
Covid-19 has required Good Companions to suspend its’ physical groups, so we have developed an outreach version of our regular service. We maintain contact with older people by telephone and text. Our staff and volunteers collect food and prescriptions; deliver books and jigsaws to group members.
Good Companions volunteers deliver regular newsletters that include the quiz’s we used to run in our Friendship groups. Group members and volunteers are now submitting items for future issues.
When Alan’s kettle “exploded”, Good Companions was able to go out and get him another. Alan, who is a wheelchair user and had just returned from hospital (non Covid-19), was not able to get out to the shops.
In the run up to Easter, Good Companions delivered 153 care packages to the doors of our Friendship group members and volunteers. There was an Easter egg, NHS material, activity sheets and a crocheted coaster. One recipient has informed the group that she is happy to turn any spare coasters into a blanket to support another charity.
An ‘afternoon’ tea was recently delivered to all our group members so, despite the lockdown, Good Companions still brings laughter and joy to the lives of isolated people, and is maintaining the sense of community the charity has developed over the last two decades.
Good Companions has lost its’ ability to fund raise; the weekly Friendship groups themselves used to generate £20 - £40 a week from bingo games, small raffles and cash donations. These are closed and our outreach service raises no income.
Good Companions has several fundraising activities throughout the year; last Spring/ Summer we had two bag packing days at local Supermarkets, a door to door envelope collection and a car wash, supported by the Fire Brigade, which together raised over £3,500. We are unable to replicate any of these activities during lockdown.
We are hopeful that bonfire night and Christmas week, which traditionally have raised significant amounts for Good Companions, will still go ahead, we are applying for £2,500 as this will cover all our costs for ten weeks at a time when we are unable to do this from our usual activities.