Meet the team - Julie Beedham

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Your Charity Lottery raises over a million pounds for Dove House Hospice and its charity partners every year. Promoting the lottery in order to recruit new players and delivering an excellent customer experience to potential and existing players is key to what we do. It takes a dedicated team of people both in the office and out and about in the community. From visiting charity shops supporting the sale of lottery products, recruiting new lottery players door-to-door and at venues to attending community events within the area covered; our CLAs are out in the community meeting people raising awareness of the services provided by the hospice and raising much needed funds towards these. The role of Community Lottery Assistant (CLA) is multi-faceted and varies day to day.

Today we meet with Julie, who works throughout North Lincolnshire on behalf of Lindsey Lodge Hospice. Julie has been part of the lottery team for over 3 years. To find out a bit more about what her role entails, I asked a few questions.

What attracted you to work at Your Charity Lottery?

I was looking for part time work after I'd finished a full-time career which involved me travelling all over the country. I found out about the position of Community Lottery Assistant through an agency. When the lady described the role, I thought it's everything that I wanted: be involved in the community, out and about and not tied into an office environment and meeting people, which is something that I really enjoy. When I found out about the hospice that then drew me in even more, knowing that you can make such a difference in people's lives.

What do you get out of it?

The role is not just promoting the lottery and collecting money from people. It's a lot more than that. I work in North Lincolnshire and a lot of my customers are older people who really do look forward to my visits. When I see them, they want to tell me about what's happened in their lives, but they also show an interest in my life as well. On occasions I may be invited in and they might have spilled something on the floor they can't clean up so I end up cleaning it up, or a customer may want a letter posted so I go off and do it for them. They're so grateful and it makes me feel as if I've made a little bit of a difference. Just to spend a couple of minutes chatting to somebody about something, you might be the only person they've since that day. It makes you feel good. I can honestly say there's not one person that I go see that I think 'oh no I've got to go see them'.

What would you say to somebody who is considering applying for the Community Lottery Assistant position?

I would say definitely go for it. You've got to have a friendly, positive attitude, outgoing personality and like people. I think the other thing is to smile because people love that when you knock on the door with a smile or if you see them at a venue.

What do you do when you're not working?

I'm very involved with my family, especially my granddaughter. I do a bit of gardening, lots of reading, and I do like socializing. So really this job is just an extension of my life, so it's perfect.

If you would like to join Julie and the rest of our team we are currently recruiting for a Community Lottery Assistant in the Scunthorpe and North Lincolnshire area to promote the lottery on behalf of Lindsey Lodge. Find out more here.

Friday Friends: tackling loneliness and social isolation with tea and cake​​​​​​​

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 In January, a minister of loneliness was appointed to tackle what Prime Minister Theresa May calls a "sad reality of modern life" for many U.K. citizens. The statistics from the End Loneliness Campaign reveal that:

  • 17% of older people are in contact with family, friends and neighbours less than once a week and 11% are in contact less than once a month (Victor et al, 2003)

  • Over half (51%) of all people aged 75 and over live alone (ONS, 2010)

  • Two fifths of all older people (about 3.9 million) say the television is their main company (Age UK, 2014)

Research shows that loneliness and social isolation are harmful to our health: lacking social connections is a comparable risk factor for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and is worse for us than well-known risk factors such as obesity and physical inactivity. Loneliness increases the likelihood of mortality by 26%.

Social isolation is a potential possibility for anyone in a state of grief. People can isolate themselves because they feel like no one understands what they've experienced or are going through. Janet Dean, from the Family Support team at Dove House, speaks of her experience ‘we support relatives after a bereavement and they often relayed their isolation. Some people keep on coming just for a chat and some social interaction. In our community, I have noticed older people who have been widowed might have no relative close by or friends.’ That’s when the idea of Friday Friends was born. Janet spoke to her colleague Tania, Community Engagement Officer at Dove House and together they organised a community group open to anyone who wanted to chat or make new friends.

Sarah Cash, Director of Income Generation talks about the evolution of the hospice in the community. “Dove House has always been part of the community. It is funded by the community and provides for the needs of the community. These needs have changed and Dove House has adapted to them by diversifying its services. It is now a community hub with a cafe, a nursery and a day therapy unit which is open to anyone on a Friday afternoon. Friday Friends is a continuity of the services we offer.” Amy Johnson Unit couldn't be more different from what you would imagine a hospice to be. It is bright, airy, the walls covered with art and craft created by the day therapy patients. It also opens onto the large landscaped gardens with a pond full of large koi carps”.

As I visit on a bright Friday afternoon, there are some old pictures and postcards scattered on the table. Everyone around the table is deep in conversation, sharing stories about their past, reminiscing on times long gone but not forgotten. A new comer to the group, Steven, 65 and retired from the army, tells me it reminds him of days spent with his mum looking at old pictures and listening to stories from her childhood. He explains “up to July last year I was a full time carer. I took early retirement and spent 10 years looking after my mum. She had leukaemia.  She died 6 months ago and I could sometimes go a week without speaking to anybody. A lot of it was my own fault because I couldn't get out. I felt empty. I was brought up in Hull but lived in Berkshire before I moved up. I had such a horrendous Christmas. I thought I need to go out and see people. It was never lonely looking after my mum.” He came to the group after seeing a banner outside the hospice. With a big smile on his face he says: “It has been really nice just talking to people and getting out of the house. I will definitely be back”.

Bereavement is a common story in the group, sitting next to me is John. “My wife died a year ago, we were married for 65 years. I go to Age UK on a Tuesday and go out with friends on a Sunday but when I leave them it is that awful feeling, emptiness. I have a son who comes morning and night and I appreciate that , but there is something missing all the time. I would love to meet somebody whether it is male or female where we could got out for a meal or go to the theatre or in Summer go out to the coast. Just someone to talk to. It is terrible”. He comes every Friday as part of his routine and enjoys the chats with the volunteers and other group members.

Despite the sadness and the loneliness they feel at times, everyone around the table agrees that Friday Friends has been a wonderful addition to their lives and most come every week. What do they like best? Everyone talks about the cakes and of course a nice ‘cuppa’ but more than anything the company, someone to talk to, making new friends. Peter and Jack both 87 sit next to each other every week. They met at Friday Friends and now meet for lunch every Friday at Dove House Community Cafe Dulcies before coming to the group. As well at a hot drink, cake and biscuits there are also games, art and craft, readings session, visits from local authors to name a few. Tania and Janet try to vary the activities every week but most of the people I met today come in for ‘a good natter around a cuppa’.

Friday friends is free and runs every Friday from 1pm to 3 pm at the Amy Johnson Community Hub, within the grounds of Dove House Hospice. Everybody is welcome, so please just pop in! Call 01482 785718 for more details or visit Dove House website

It is only one of many services that Dove House offers free of charge to the community, although they are not free to provide. If you would like to support Dove House Hospice financially and ensure these services continue into the future why not join the lottery and help those in need in your neighbourhood. Find out more here.