January 2016 Newsletter

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Wishing You All a Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2016 and Ottery Help Scheme’s very first E-newsletter! Here we'll aim to update you on a regular basis with everything that the Help Scheme is doing, from project work and new developments through to new volunteers joining The Scheme.
Our Supporters and Volunteers are hugely important to us and we're all too aware that without your support, The Help Scheme would simply not exist. As the lifeblood of our organisation, we're therefore very keen to ensure that you're kept informed of everything we're doing and in addition, have the ability to contribute to discussions and provide feedback on any issues or developments which are important to you.

I hope you enjoy the first issue and find it useful and informative. If you have any ideas or thoughts you would like to share with us, then please do use the feedback button to get in touch.

With grateful thanks and warmest wishes for 2016

Helen Harms, Chief Officer


Welcome to Our New Trustees

In our first issue we would like to welcome four New Trustees to Ottery Help Scheme. They have each been kind enough to provide a brief pen portrait, allowing us to get to know them a little better...

Anne Maher

I have lived in East Devon for most of my life so far.  My family home was in Sidmouth, and I attended the Kings School in Ottery St Mary.

I worked in the Midland Bank in Sidmouth for five years before we started our family. I married a local man from Talaton, an engineer and a passionate sports man.  We settled in Ottery and have lived here ever since.

I became aware of the Help Scheme many years ago through Dr Graham Ward and Dr Jeremy Bradshaw Smith, while working at the local Doctors surgery in Ottery.  I joined the Practice part time as a Receptionist in 1982 and later that year the Practice re-located to their new premises at the Coleridge Medical Centre. 

In 1989 I became Practice Manager, a role I thoroughly enjoyed until my retirement in 2012. As Manager I worked closely with the Help Scheme and co-ordinator Pat Lane and some of her successors.  I have been proud to support and promote the achievements and development of the Help Scheme, and took every opportunity to promote its good work with other GP Practices. On retirement I became a Help Scheme Volunteer in order to maintain my involvement with Patient Health and Care.

I am privileged to act as a Trustee for the Help Scheme which provides such an invaluable service for our local community.

John Harding 

My wife and I retired to Devon nine years ago. A working life in the electronics industry revolved around airports, flying around the world selling integrated circuits to Japan, Taiwan, Australia, South Africa, Singapore, Hong Kong, all over Europe and the US. It gave me little time to give back anything to the areas and people where I lived. I made the commitment when I moved to Tipton to change that. 

Within nine months of arriving I became a Parish Councillor for Tipton St John and did two terms as a Councillor.

Another key committee I sat on was the Finance and General Purposes Committee and in my last year at the Council I was Chairman of that Committee and hence Council Treasurer. Responsible for funding, and leading numerous beneficial projects for Ottery, I also used my funding knowledge to advise local groups, achieving several useful outcomes.

In May this year I did not apply to be re-elected as a Parish Councillor - I needed time to work on my own projects - yet I still wish to give time to outside projects albeit not with the intensity I had at the Council.

I believe that working as a Trustee for the Ottery Help Scheme does that. I have the experience of finance and funding and would be pleased to use that knowledge for such a good purpose.


Judith Reynolds

I have lived in the Ottery area since 1981.  I was a Teacher at Clyst Vale Community College, Broadclyst for 29 years (teaching Geography, being Head of Year and also Assistant Principal) and subsequently Clerk to Ottery St Mary Town Council for 8½ years, retiring last June.

As teacher I organised and led a successful school handbell ringing team which performed in venues all over England and which, as a result of considerable fund-raising, I took on 3 occasions to America and Canada. 

As Town Clerk I was responsible for advising the Council and effecting the decisions it made as well as administering its services and properties. I am married to Wilfred, a retired Police Officer.  I am Choir Director and a bell ringer at Ottery St Mary Parish Church.


John Campion 

I moved to Ottery in 2013,  following retirement, with my wife and purchased Seasons Tea Rooms in the town to keep both of us active.

During the main part of my working life I worked in the gaming industry with various responsibilities covering internal audit, security, insurance premium/claim negotiations, fleet management, health and safety, licensing, general compliance including being the Data Control Officer.

During our albeit short time in Ottery we have been made to feel extremely welcome by and all and I felt that I would like to repay in some small way the kindness shown to us.

I am now, in addition to being a Trustee of the Ottery Help Scheme, also a Trustee of the Station Project and endeavouring to, in my small way, assist in continuing the fantastic work already being undertaken within the community and, where possible, make improvements for the benefit of all.


Welcome to New Volunteers


We also extend a very warm welcome to the following volunteers who have recently joined us, hearing a little bit about some of them and what inspired them to join the Help Scheme

Ruth MacGregor

I met Helen in the library seeking new volunteers for the Help Scheme and had been thinking I could do some driving for them so agreed to start as a volunteer.  I took very early retirement from Community Paediatrics a couple of years ago.

Previously I have done some volunteering with the YMCA in Exeter which I enjoyed.   I’m now just starting a Play Therapy course but hope to be able to fit driving for the Help Scheme in about once a week at least for a few months.

I think the Scheme is a great asset to the community.

Jenny Hobbs

I have lived in Ottery St Mary for 13 years,  although have lived close by for 23 years.  I joined the Ottery Help Scheme to offer my services to members of the Community where it was considered I could be of any help.
I am recently retired having worked as a medical secretary in Exeter.  I have two daughters and one adorable grandson aged 10 months.


Help Scheme 100 Club up and running!

We are delighted to announce that our 100 Club is now up and running! For anyone interested in joining, we invite you to subscribe £20 per year and you will be entered into a monthly draw for a prize of £25. At the AGM there will then be the Grand Draw for one prize of £100 and two prizes of £50.  In addition, there will be a special prize draw each Christmas. If you are interested in joining, please contact the office on 01404 813041. 



Congratulations to our very first winners who won the following amounts as drawn at our Christmas Party in December...

*£25 – Chris Highnam – Our very own Treasurer (Given that Chris was instrumental in setting up the 100 Club we will forgive his early windfall!)

*£40 – Rosemary Poole, (OHS Volunteer)

*£60 – Lesley Yoffey – (OHS Volunteer)


Coffee Morning on

21st January 2016

We hope very much that you will be able to join us for our Monthly Coffee Morning, commencing Thursday 21st January 2016 from 10.00am-12.00pm at The Station in Ottery.  This is a great opportunity for our volunteers, clients and supporters to get together and have a chat over a cup of coffee/tea and a biscuit. It’s also a great opportunity for our office staff to nip down from our office at The Station to say hello.  Our monthly 100 Club draw will also be taking place so don’t forget to check which number is yours for a chance to win £25! We very much look forward to seeing you there.


New Website

An organisational website is very often the first port of call for perspective clients, the general public and any potential funders.  As such it is vital that the first impression we make is both welcoming and professional. In that vein, we are currently in the process of developing a brand new website with the aim of providing users with a simple, clean, informative and intuitive experience. 

There will also be a separate log-in page for Help Scheme Volunteers which they can visit to download a range of useful documents, forms and policies.  We also hope to create a volunteer training portal which will enable new volunteers to undertake online training through specially created modules.

We very much hope that our Supporters, Clients and Volunteers will find the additional information provided within the website useful and will update you again in due course to let you know of the launch date.


Fundraising – Sainsbury’s Bucket Shaking!

We would like to say a huge thank you to all those volunteers who, in December, very kindly donned Ottery Help Scheme T-Shirts and stood in the foyer of Sainsbury’s shaking buckets, handing out leaflets and chatting to people about Ottery Help Scheme services. We not only raised a fabulous £360, but also managed to attract another 7 volunteers who are currently going through the induction process so an absolutely brilliant result! Thank you again to all those who gave their support and time at this busy time of year.


Minibus for Hire 

Do you have a need or know someone who might?

As you may already be aware, the Help Scheme manages the running of a minibus on behalf of Ottery Hospital League of Friends and we are currently looking to increase its usage. The minibus has 14 passenger seats and a tail lift for wheelchair accessibility.  It is available to hire to any person or group who has a need (for example has mobility issues or finds it difficult to use public transport) and who lives within Ottery St Mary or its surrounding areas.

If you think you might have a qualifying need, please contact the office and chat to a member of staff.  

The minibus is also available to hire out to other not-for-profit organisations for their own purposes if they have their own Section 19 Minibus Permit. 

The cost of hiring the minibus is £0.85 per mile.

Currently the minibus is used for various purposes, including taking individuals and/or groups to health and wellbeing appointments and social events which they would otherwise be unable to attend due to mobility or heath issues. It has also been used by various organisations for the safe transportation of vulnerable clients.

However, there is, sadly, a significant amount of the time during which the minibus remains unused and we are therefore very keen to spread the word of this brilliant community resource to ensure that all those who could benefit from its use, do so. 

If you think that you might have a need to use the minibus or have any questions then please do get in touch by calling 01404 813041.


Men’s Shed Project 
Help Us to Create a Shed in Ottery!

We are currently working on an exciting new project to bring a Men’s Shed to Ottery St Mary.  

If you’ve not yet heard of a Men’s Shed, they are sprouting up all over the country with the aim of providing a welcoming and creative space where men (and women) can meet socially to take up various crafts. The crafts may include the use of traditional materials such as wood, metal or anything new which the ‘Shedders’ would like to try. In some cases Shedders have been known to make a valuable contribution to the local community by forming repair workshops, charging only minimal amounts for materials used. Others have decided to go down more informal routes, organising a drop-in Shed in which any member can work on any project of their choice over a cup of tea and a chat.

The Sheds are mainly aimed at those who are aged over 50 but all would be welcome - it may be that you have a talent to share with others or would like to learn more about wood work / metal work or some other craft or hobby. We would love to hear from all those who would be interested in using our Ottery Shed - we need a show of interest to make this happen. We also want to hear from all those who are interested in becoming Shed Committee Members, taking the lead in decision-making and helping to shape our own Men's Shed in Ottery. Please do get in touch if you would like to be involved in this exciting project.

Ottery Help Scheme is working in partnership with the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS) and Men's Sheds UK, both of whom have a wealth of knowledge and are keen to provide us with help wherever possible. 

Our next meeting is on 28th January 2016 at 2.00pm at The Station in Ottery (next to Rio). Please do come along if you would like to learn more. 

IT Class


Having recently worked in conjunction with RVS with regard to the provision of a variety of free taster classes for the over 50s, they have confirmed that they will be running a 6 week IT course for beginners commencing in 2016. The course will take place at The Station in Ottery with the exact date yet to be confirmed. If you would like to register your interest, please contact us on 01404 813041.


Car Stickers 


We will soon be making Ottery Help Scheme car stickers available to both our Volunteers and our Supporters in a bid to advertise our charity and its services. It’s also a great way of showing your support for the Help Scheme and encouraging others to learn more.  


If you would like to receive an ‘Ottery Help Scheme - Volunteer’ Car Sticker or an ‘Ottery Help Scheme – Supporter’ Car Sticker, please contact or pop into the office.


Did you know that in the last four months, our VOLUNTEERS have...

- Given 1,537 hours of their time driving those in need to health and well-being related appointments. (That's 17,653 miles driving to appointments and 2,580 car trips!)
- Made 32 befriending visits (That's over 70 hours of time devoted to visiting and befriending)
THANK YOU to all our volunteers who care enough to give so much of their time to helping others in our community
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The Station, Mill Street, Ottery St Mary, Devon EX11 1AH


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