Team North Yorkshire: Meet the volunteer helping Scarborough borough's most vulnerable

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, those in need have become the focus of the county’s attention.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 12:37 pm

In towns and villages across North Yorkshire, community groups have sprung up, with friends and neighbours offering a plethora of help and assistance for those in need.

Many informal arrangements have been put in place and have persisted throughout the pandemic, and for those who haven’t had access to these, other means of help have been made available.

On the Yorkshire Coast, three Community Support Organisations have ensured that the elderly, infirm or those otherwise vulnerable have not been forgotten about.

Jill Broadley.

The Scarborough area has been covered by Age UK, YMCA Scarborough and Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Mind. Coast and Vale Community Action has covered Whitby and Revival North Yorkshire has covered the Esk Valley, Staithes and Sleights.

The latter has been in operation since 2015 with a focus on helping to prevent loneliness in older vulnerable people in the Esk Valley and surrounding moor and coastal villages.

In March 2020, the organisation changed almost overnight. Transforming from an organisation who predominantly helped the elderly to one that helps the community as a whole.

To date they, and their willing team of volunteers, have conducted 1158 befriending/welfare phone calls, delivered 855 “lunch on legs” meals, provided 186 Christmas Day lunches and conducted 697 doorstep visits to the most vulnerable people they support.

Norma Carrick.

They employ seven part-time staff and have 25 volunteers supporting over 140 older and vulnerable people according to their individual needs.

One such volunteer is Jill Broadley, 56, who is herself clinically extremely vulnerable.

Jill, a kidney transplant recipient, is currently shielding, yet has looked for ways in which she could help Revival North Yorkshire.

She has taken up the role of telephone befriender and telephones seven people twice a week to check they are okay and to see if they need anything.

Joyce Harrison

Jill said: “I’d already been with Revival North Yorkshire for over a year. Debbie Swales was wondering the best way we could help and she came up with the phone calls.

“I said I’d do absolutely anything I could to help with that. I knew them all before lockdown, but the longer it goes on, the more you get to know them.

“We talk about the weather and sometimes they have little tit-bits to tell me.

“Care and nursing is the only thing I’ve done. I worked in the infirmary at Sneaton Castle and when I got ill I went to work in a day centre so there was no lifting.

Enid Saddler.

“Chatting I can do in abundance. There’s always plenty to talk about. They’re just so interesting. I love all their era, the war and all that, I read about that.

“If they need something, I phone the hospital and the docs for them. I can help them to get a prescription.

“If they need anything from the shop I can get someone to get it. I like to do it. I’m not well myself and it gives me an incentive to try and be right on those days.

“I feel like I’m putting something back.”

Joyce Harrison, 79, who lives in Sleights said: “Jill rings on a Monday and Thursday and we put the world to rights.

“I’m lucky because my daughter lives in the village and does my shopping and hovers up.

“I was in hospital in November and Revival North Yorkshire arranged a couple of weeks of free meals and then half price meals for me.

“They also send newsletters with information and a number to ring if we need anything and they gave us a list of all the places in the village that would deliver.”

Norma Carrick told how much she’s missing the Community Support Organisations regular activities, she said: “When not in lockdown we have coffee afternoons and quizzes and competitions.

“At the moment you can only see each other from a distance. We’re missing a lot of things that they did for us.

“We still have ‘lunch on legs’ once a month, it’s lovely to see the girls who deliver it and have a natter.

“Jill calls twice a week, on a Monday and Thursday which is brilliant. She keeps her eye on us all.

“She asks how I’m feeling. If I’m alright and if there is anything I need?

“She just generally chats. I spend a lot of time on my own and to have that voice on the other end of the phone twice a week is lovely.”

Enid Saddler, 84, is one of the ladies on Jill’s call list, she said: “I think Revival North Yorkshire are marvellous, I’m a new kid on the block, I’ve only been here since December 2019 and I’ve been overwhelmed by the care and help and interest I’ve been given.

“There is nothing they won’t do to help out, it’s a lovely feeling. My daughter works and this relieves her of the worry.

“They give those like me as much time as possible and we would be absolutely stuck without this help.

“It’s a lovely communal village, everybody is genuinely concerned about the next person, it’s like one big family and the surgery is second to none.

“I can’t sing their praises enough, they’re absolutely brilliant. I wasn’t expecting this.

“Jill is my volunteer, she’s a super woman. She goes out of her way to help people who are stuck.

“She worries about us even though she has her own problems. She rings twice a week to see if I’m okay and if I need anything.

“I am so very grateful that they are there.”