About the VHC
The Voluntary Help Centre was founded in 1987. Its aim was to fill the gaps in social services which frequently left elderly or disabled members of our community without the means to get to appointments, to the shops or to visit friends and relatives, and often left them without companionship or the occasional helping hand.
Our first annual report stated that 46 volunteers were registered, 421 car journeys were made and 136 non-driving requests were answered. Today all the numbers are many times in excess of those.
How we're funded
We no longer receive any grants but charitable trusts in our area are very generous in providing us with financial support. We also rely on many loyal individual donors and, via our Gift Aid scheme we are able to reclaim the tax on this at the current rate of 25p in the pound. Sometimes passengers offer small donations to their drivers and these are brought into the office each month where they are added to the Gift Aid small donations scheme and also attract tax relief.
We run a monthly 100-Club. For £3 per month, participants are entered into a draw with a chance to win £50, £25 or £15 with a bumper draw at Christmas. Application forms for the 100-Club are available in the office and subscriptions may be paid via cash, cheque or standing order at intervals of 3, 6, 9 or 12 months.
We normally take stalls at several local fairs and other events, both to fly the VHC flag and to attract donations. Another useful boost to our funds is the annual VHC Christmas card. The entire proceeds from their sale supports our charity.
Most of our assignments have always involved providing lifts. Medical appointments make up many of these but equally important are visits to loved ones in hospitals or care homes, attending social events, going to the hairdresser or making a shopping trip. The benefit to the people we help is immense, not least by giving them the opportunity to get out of their four walls.
Not all our volunteers are drivers. Some provide a visiting and befriending service, help with correspondence and form-filling, dog walking and even a little gardening.
We started a weekly Lunch Club in 2010 which has proved to be a highly valued social event. Up to 40 local residents join us for a meal at the Millennium Hall every Thursday. It gives them a chance to meet up with friends, enjoy a carefully prepared square meal and spend a welcome time away from home. We have an agreement with Saint Felix School which allows us to use their mini-bus to pick up those who are unable to get here under their own steam. Booking is essential for this as we are frequently over-subscribed.
Voluntary Help Centre is a Community Incorporated Organisation (CIO). Registered charity number 1164155.