Hoping this finds you all well.
I am attaching the latest Annual Review which I will be getting onto the website too. I hope you enjoy reading what you have been up to collectively and can't express how thankful people are of the miles you are putting in or the contact you are making with residents in the area.
A couple of things to update you on.
Car Runs: We are still mainly doing medical runs but will consider other runs if they are deemed to be essential such as visiting relatives in care homes etc. We are constantly reviewing the situation and hope to be able to open up further soon to include social runs. The demand and requests coming in certainly show that there is a growing demand from people to be able to get out and about. I will keep you informed and if anyone has any views on opening up please feel free to share them with me.
Fuel Costs: You will all be aware that fuel costs (and costs in general) are going up all the time. The Community Transport Association in Scotland has started a campaign (https://tfn.scot/news/calls-for-review-of-volunteer-mileage-reimbursement-rate) to try and enable us to increase the rate at which we pay expenses. This has to go through HMRC as if we pay above the recommended rate then volunteers are obliged to do Self Assessment returns and I suspect not many would be keen to do that. SWRCCS have written to local election candidates, our local MP and MSP highlighting the issue and the campaign and asking them to get on board with it. If there are any ways in which this is affecting you or your volunteering do let us know and we can share those experiences.
Website and feedback: I am always looking at ways in which I can develop and enhance the website and our publicity materials and one way I am keen to do this is to have quotes from volunteers and users of SWRCCS. So, please do feed back quotes from users to me and if you have a quote of your own that I can use about your volunteering experience and what it means to you then please do share them with me. Photos would also be great!
We are the Village event, Saturday 7 May from 2pm to 5pm: SWRCCS will have stall at this event being held in Lochcarron Village Hall so do pop in if you are passing. Due to the past 2 years I don't always know everyone by face so do introduce yourself!! I will be there from 2 to 3.30pm and Anne Wood, one of our Board members will be there from 3.30 to 5pm.
Thanks for everything you do and hope that we might be able to meet on Saturday or soon elsewhere.
All the best
Hope you are all managing to stay warm during this cold weather.
A few updates from the car scheme for you and a request from NHS to input into their survey if you can.
GUIDANCE FOR PASSENGER RUNS
After discussion at the board and officers meetings, I am attaching updated guidance for passenger runs. The new text is in purple in the attachment and can also be downloaded from the website here.
The new text is basically asking drivers and passengers to enter a dialogue prior to their run as to what precautionary measures they would like to see implemented for their journeys. SWRCCS will support any of the measures agreed by the provision of any equipment needed and would still recommend use of masks and good ventilation in the car as a basic minimum. Do let me know what you think and if this means you would like to change your current volunteering status in terms of the types of run you would undertake.
Under the banner NHS Together We Care there is an ongoing consultation looking for the views of local communities on the future of the NHS. I am attaching a powerpoint introducing this and at the end there is a QR code which can take you to an online survey (which takes about 5 minutes). I know they would appreciate your contributions to this. If QR codes are not your thing you can reach the survey by clicking here or request a paper copy from firstname.lastname@example.org or by writing to Freepost RUAK-JGSH-TUUL, Clinical Governance Team, NHS Highland, Together We Care, Assynt House, NHS Highland, IV2 3BW
As always, if there is anything I can do to support or improve your volunteering activities then just let me know,
All the best
Hope that this finds you all well and getting ready for darker nights and colder days!
A number of things in this email for your information and action too!
Drivers - could you please fill in the attached self certification form. This is asked of you annually and believe it or not, it is a year since the last request. If you can get the completed forms back to me that would be great.
Also, drivers can opt to do 3 types of run.
1. Delivery only
2. Short passenger runs or
3. Hospital runs and longer runs.
If you choose Hospital Runs option, I do presume (unless told) you can do deliveries and short passenger runs as well. Please re-affirm your choice when sending in your Self Certification form and I can ensure that telephonists know so not to ask you about runs that you are not prepared to do. It goes without saying that the more people who can do all 3 types of run the more flexibility we have and I promise you can always say no to any run that you are requested to do, that is absolutely fine.
AGM - the Annual General Meeting is going to be held on 25 November at 7pm in Loch Torridon Community Centre. However, you can also attend by zoom if you would prefer. Sadly we are not yet able to do a full social gathering but I hope that you will be able to attend in one way or another.
Attached are some adverts for the AGM which are also appearing in An Carrannach and the Gairloch Yellow Pages - if you could print one out and stick it on your local noticeboard to let others know about the event that would be appreciated and save me travelling round the whole area! Printed copies are available from the office if needed.
Funding - we are pleased to say that we have been successful in securing 3 year funding from NHS Highland. This will be an increase in our funding from NHS Highland and recognises the good work done by volunteers in supporting people to appointments at local surgeries and hospitals and also the delivery of prescriptions. Good news for the continuation of these services as well as recognition of the value in the work of our volunteers. Good job one and all.
I am away for a couple of weeks but any problems just contact Mat on the mobile number below and he will help you.
Hope to see you (in person or online) in November.