Two Impetus Volunteers receive Community Service AwardsPosted on 19th December 2013 by Sean de Podesta
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Rotary Club of Brighton’s Christmas Lunch, at which the Lord Lieutenant of Sussex, Mr Peter Field, presented the Club’s annual Community Service Awards, which recognize local people who are the often unrecognized lynchpins of their organisations and without whose efforts, things simply would not happen so well.
Two Impetus volunteers, Jeanette Eason and Richard Lovegrove, received awards. Here’s a bit more about them, from their Award nominations.
“An absolute star!” This is how a woman supported by Jeanette described her. Other words to describe Jeanette? – caring, can-do, competent, energetic, reliable, intelligent. Jeanette began volunteering with the Neighbourhood Care Scheme in 2007 when she lived near our office. We are a good neighbour scheme. Jeanette was not able to follow our usual pattern of volunteering, but was happy to help when she could – which was often. Over the last six years, she has been our “go-to” volunteer in complicated or demanding situations requiring patience, understanding and tact (for example, someone has a specialist appointment in Guildford, or needs to write a letter to social services, or needs a person to explain things to the doctor) and has assisted more than 30 older people – often on a regular basis.
Jeanette’s volunteering has not ended with her support for scheme members. She serves on our steering group, and has helped in the office, interviewed new volunteers, attended conferences and given talks for us. She is the ideal volunteer: if you ask her to do something and she says yes – Jeanette is a woman who likes to say yes! – then you know the job will be done, and done well.
And Richard, a volunteer with InterAct:
Richard was providing advocacy support to a 57 year old man with a learning disability, we’ll call him John, who was diagnosed in April this year with a terminal illness. During the five months between his diagnosis and his death in August, Richard provided a truly incredible level of care and support to John, caring for him through his diagnosis, treatment and end of life care. Richard spent at least 3 hours every day supporting John during this difficult time. Apart from accompanying him to every medical appointment, Richard tidied and cleaned his flat, did all his laundry and shopping, cooked daily meals for him, including taking food and clean clothes into hospital, sorted and dealt with his mail and visited him daily whilst he was in the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath. When John was transferred to a Brighton Nursing Home for the final weeks of his life, Richard visited him twice a day.
John told Richard that his greatest fear was to die alone, in pain and without dignity. Richard ensured this fear was never realised. Thanks to Richard, John died with dignity surrounded by a small coterie of friends.
And Richard’s care did not end with John’s passing. He also registered his death, planned and organised the funeral arrangements, cleared his council property, serving notice terminating his tenancy and returning the keys to the housing office. He ensured that all relevant authorities were notified of his death and dealt with the repayment of DLA and Income Support overpayment.
Before John died, Richard persuaded him to make a Will and with his consent, engaged a solicitor on his behalf to do this. It enabled John to give what little money he had in his bank to a very dear friend of his.
Richard’s dedication to supporting a very vulnerable person through the final months of his life, makes him worthy of the Community Service Award.
Five other people received Awards, so the event was inspiring and encouraging. They may not always be visible but there are so many people doing things that make the world a better place, not just for themselves but for others.
For me, it is great to work for an organisation that enables hundreds of people to contribute to others and to the wider community. Richard and Jeanette are inspiring, and fortunately they are not alone.
Sean de Podesta
Service Manager, Neighbourhood Care Scheme