• Sat. May 14th, 2022

Support group gets £1,000 boost from councilors |

ByJulie J. Helfer

Feb 28, 2022

An Okehampton-based community group recently celebrated a donation of a total of £1,000 from two West Devon borough councilors at their weekly coffee morning.

The support group, Community Links, which provides a wide range of services to families and individuals in the Okehampton area, recently received £500 from Cllr Lois Samuel and Cllr James McInnes and decided to thank the counselors at his regular morning coffee for isolated and alone people in the area.

Cllr Samuel attended the event on February 17 at the Refresh Cafe in Okehampton where Community Links staff, volunteers and customers were able to thank her. Cllr McInnes was unable to attend.

Cllr Samuel said: ‘[This cafe] is a large space. I am delighted to fund this project. It’s wonderful and it really helps people.

Community Links provides a wide range of support services to families and individuals in the Okehampton area, one of the most successful being the Loyalty Service which offers people suffering from loneliness and isolation the opportunity to socialize and to meet new people.

Friendship Relations Coordinator Vicky Hopkins said the service has become particularly important since the outbreak of the pandemic and numerous lockdowns over the past two years.

As part of the friendship service, customers can attend a weekly coffee morning at the Refresh Cafe where they can meet other people suffering from isolation and chat with volunteers who befriend participants on a daily basis. individual.

The coffee matinee proved to be such a success that the group was forced to move from the Okehampton coffee shop, Toast, where they had originally met, to a larger venue. The non-profit cafe, Refresh, used by Okehampton’s New Life Church, provided a regular space for the group to meet.

Community Links director Mary Lovell said: ‘We are so very grateful [for the donation]. This allowed us to fund Toast’s move to [Refresh Cafe] and having the extra space is really good.

“A lot of people like to have something to do every day and I think it’s good to know and come.”

However, Ms Lovell said the group was short of volunteers and was currently struggling to provide transport for those unable to attend morning coffee on their own.

The community interest group, which also offers parenting classes, family support, counseling sessions and runs mental health groups across Okehampton, hopes the money from the two counselors will help it further expand its services .

So far, Community Links has already organized a social group to support people with dementia and has worked with Devon Carers to create a support group, named A Time for You, to give unpaid part-time carers a break. full.

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