Mayor and Guildford Borough Council recognise Community Angels with award 

For the second year running we are thrilled to have been awarded the Mayor’s Award for Service to the Community. Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Richard Billington introduced the award, now in its’ 18th year “which recognises the contribution of people who have gone out of
their way to improve the lives of others, foster good relations and encourage positive community spirit.”

“The one thing which links the majority of the winners who are based in our borough, is their voluntary work, and how they have achieved so much by giving their own time so freely and selflessly.” Mayor Billington said he was “delighted to announce out group recipients as The Community Angels Project, run by Guildford Town Centre Chaplaincy, which offers support to vulnerable people to reconnect with their community and saw a 300% increase in demand for their services during the pandemic.”

Leader of Guildford Borough Council Cllr Joss Bigmore said award winners showed “Their selfless dedication to helping others has been inspiration to us all and kept the borough going through this unprecedented times. They deserve the thanks and gratitude of everyone in the borough for everything that they have done. One of the qualities which has shone through in many of our award winners has been their humility – their surprise at being honoured. They see it simply doing their bit to help their community but it’s far more
than that”.

Following the award Community Angel Coordinator Anne Thorton said “We are delighted and honoured that our Community Angels project has been awarded the Mayor’s Award for Service to the Community 2021. Community Angels couldn’t exist without our fantastic, committed and caring volunteers, and we are so grateful for the time that they have given (and continue to give) to support and encourage people who have really struggled with loneliness and isolation over the past year.”

Congratulations to all the other nominees and winners honoured at the online award ceremony on 10 May. You can watch the ceremony, including songs from music group, the Barricade Boys on this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J__p5zHCjKM with our award coming at around 1hour and 57 minutes in. As the Mayor said that evening “your stories confirm the wonderful sense of community that we have here in Guildford”

Our thanks also go to the awards sponsor the County Club represented at the ceremony by General manager, Kevin Lorimer. Thank you to all our amazing Angels who have generously given their time this year to serve the community and for the Mayor in honouring us in this way.

 

GTC HQ moves to Christ Church 

In April 2021, GTCC moved to a new office location, leaving the YMCA after a long lease of around 10 years. Our new home is with Christ Church on Waterden Road in Church House. The move is felt across the staff team and the board of trustees as a good and exciting development. The wonderful Christ Church staff team have welcomed us very warmly and we are all thoroughly enjoying the new situation. A huge thank you also goes out to the GTCC staff, board members, and volunteers that helped out with the move, giving their time to ferry office furniture across Guildford town centre.

Parallel to this, Street Angels have a new permanent base of patrols at St Mary’s church, and are thrilled to be out on the streets of Guildford once more, though in smaller numbers than usual. We have once again been welcomed back to the busy streets with open arms by our local partners as well as the public. Our first night back out was May 22nd and spirits were high in the town centre with many happy lollypop recipients amongst the students and young folk.

Our new IT system is in place and staff will be receiving on going training from Alok Agarwal, managing director of 3rd sector IT, as part of their charity support work.

Things are beginning to look more ‘normal’ as there  are no curfews upon the town centre venues this time around and queues into some places are being seen again. The local organisations in Guildford are once again working very hard to ensure the necessary COVID requirements are being met, and the Police continue their ongoing efforts to keep Guildford safe for the public.

 

Community Angels: back to face-to-face befriending – at last.

After a long winter in lockdown, a chilly wet spring did little to dampen the enthusiasm of our Community Angels to resume face-to-face befriending. The weather didn’t favour outdoor visits and springtime walks, but thanks to vaccinations and the easing of social restrictions, people are at last able to meet, talk and enjoy one another’s company. Anne and Susanna have been busy visiting clients for in-home assessments and matching them for support, and many volunteers and clients who have been talking by telephone over the past months have finally met. We are glad to see various community activities starting up again and offering opportunities for our some  of our clients to engage with longer term sources of support and friendship, with the encouragement of their Community Angel.

We are continuing to receive a steady stream of referrals and the impact of the past year on loneliness and isolation, particularly in the areas of mental health and bereavement, is painfully clear.

We were delighted to see so many volunteers at our recent round of volunteer support sessions. As Community Angels work alone, rather than in teams, these sessions are a great opportunity for our volunteers to meet each other and share ideas and experiences. We are also excited to be launching a monthly volunteer drop-in in late June and look forward to seeing some of our

Community Angels in person then. We are so grateful to our volunteers for their time, commitment and the care that they show to those in need.

Our St Saviour’s Hub also continues to grow. We will be holding our next introductory training session for new Community Angels in June, and another in the autumn. We are always in need of more volunteers to help us reach out to our neighbours who are struggling with loneliness and social isolation, so if you would like to learn more about being a Community Angel, please get in
touch on 07925 799309 or communityangels@gtcc.org.uk.

 

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