VOLUNTEERS representing an array of charities and community organisations across the borough have been treated to two tea parties, hosted by the mayor and deputy mayor of Waverley, to thank them for their vital work in the community.
Afternoon teas have been hosted at Waverley Abbey and Charterhouse Club in Godalming in recent weeks, with representatives of Farnham’s Community Meals Service, The Hale Community Centre, Farnham Boxing Club, Farnham ASSIST, the Friends of Farnham Park, Home Start Waverley and Chiddingfold Army Benevolent Fund among those celebrated.
More than 40 volunteers who deliver meals to people who need a helping hand across the borough enjoyed a ’thank you’ afternoon tea organised by Waverley Borough Council at the first event on October 10.
The volunteers – who help as part of the Community Meals Service – were treated to a delightful spread with the deputy mayor, Mary Foryszewski, to celebrate the indispensable work they do. The event was held at Waverley Abbey, which provided the room free of charge.
Community Meals Service volunteers deliver hot meals five days a week, providing a lifeline for the disabled, frail or sick residents who are unable to cook for themselves and depend on the service.
The entire borough is covered, with centres at the Farnham Memorial Hall, Godalming, Cranleigh and Haslemere. A total 27,386 meals were delivered throughout the borough by more than 130 volunteers in 2017/18.
Volunteers deliver meals along with a smile and a chat that provides vital social contact, particularly to those who may live alone. For many it can be the only contact they have. It also offers a chance to make sure the clients are okay and any concerns can be referred to GPs, social services, the client’s family or any other appropriate point of contact.
Lucinda Fleming, Gostrey Centre chairman of trustees responsible for the Farnham service, said: “It’s about more than just delivering meals. Volunteers will also offer help to their clients – cut up their meals, feed the cat or whatever they need. Seeing how welcome you are and what a difference you make to their lives is why volunteering is so rewarding.
“We always need more volunteers and I would encourage anyone who has an hour spare to get in touch with their local service and join the team.”
Mrs Foryszewski said: “It’s a real pleasure to be able to do something to thank all our wonderful volunteers who generously give up their time to help others. Their kindness transforms lives by helping hundreds of people to remain independent, continue to live in their own homes and be a part of the community.”
Jenny Else, Waverley’s portfolio holder for well-being and culture and an Elstead councillor, added: “It is so important we celebrate the contribution of the volunteers who work for the Community Meals Service. Their commitment is invaluable and without them our more vulnerable residents would not be able to enjoy a hot, freshly-cooked meal each day of the week, as they have done for the past two years.”
Volunteers from across the borough were also treated to a tea party reception, hosted by Waverley mayor and Upper Hale councillor Denise Le Gal at Charterhouse School in Godalming on October 16.
More than 100 people attended the event, enjoying a sumptuous tea with sandwiches and homemade cakes before the mayor gave a speech celebrating their contributions.
All Waverley councillors were asked to nominate people working for charities, voluntary groups and not-for-profit organisations to attend the reception, and among those represented on the day were:
* The Hale Community Centre (formerly Sandy Hill Community Bungalow – halecommunitycentre.org.uk), whose volunteers provide a range of services, activities and meeting spaces for people of all ages in the north Farnham community.
* Farnham Boxing Club (farnhamboxing.com), which holds weekly fitness classes and offers one-to-one training and coaching for people of all ages, abilities and levels of fitness.
* Farnham ASSIST (farnham-assist.org.uk), a Christian organisation which has, since 2002, offered support to older people in Farnham, who may become isolated from friends and neighbours.
* Friends of Farnham Park (friendsoffarnhampark.co.uk) liaises closely with, and support, Waverley’s countryside management team in preserving the character of the ancient park.
The mayor, Mrs Le Gal, said: “It was wonderful to meet so many of our dedicated volunteers who play such a major part in our community and who are worth their weight in gold.
“They work so tirelessly and devote their free time to helping others and the annual tea party is simply our way of recognising their sterling work and saying thank you for all the support they offer to those in need within the borough. I would also like to thank Charterhouse for all they have done to organise the event.”