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Winter Friends

Each winter, our health and care services come under pressure in Cornwall due to a variety of factors including severe weather, flu virus etc. This year, we are determined to be ahead of the game so Volunteer Cornwall is looking for people to support others in their community this coming winter.

Roles will vary depending on circumstances and what you want to get involved in but could include:

  • Visiting older residents to make sure they have access to all the support they need
  • Helping keep pavements and driveways in your neighbourhood clear of ice and snow
  • Acting as an information point for the local community in the event of severe weather and feeding information back to agencies on community needs
  • Volunteer driving – particularly if you have a 4x4 vehicle.

Volunteers are required in all parts of the county. You can get involved in as much or as little activity as you wish to suit the time you have available.

We will contact you when there is a need for your help and you can say yes or no on a case by case basis.
You should not be out of pocket for getting involved and we may be able to offer other training and support depending on the role you are fulfilling.

To sign up as a ‘Winter Friend’ in your community, contact Volunteer Cornwall on 01872 266988 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Social Prescribing Boost for Cornwall

A new £1m funding programme will see health professionals in Cornwall  being able to ‘prescribe’ residents activities like volunteering, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice and a range of sports to keep them safe, well and out of hospital. 

Cornwall Council and voluntary sector partners, led by Volunteer Cornwall, have secured funding of £500K, topped up with £400K from the Council, to provide expert advice which looks at treating more than just a medical issue.

‘Social prescribing’ aims to improve peoples’ quality of life, and health and wellbeing by helping professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services which could range from community groups to healthy eating.

For example, social prescribing means a person who is under stress from debt could be referred for help to Citizen’s Advice for professional advice, to a local walking group to increase physical activity or to local community groups to increase time spent with others, reducing isolation.  

Volunteer Cornwall is the lead partner in the project along with Active Plus, Age UK, Chaos Café, CN4C, Eden Project and Pentreath Ltd, who already work alongside GPs across Cornwall. 

Twenty-nine GP practices will share the hosting of nine link workers each employed by the partner agencies. The workers will offer a tailored approach, identifying support or activities to improve patient wellbeing.

Adults over 18 years are eligible for the scheme, which also targets areas where there are higher levels of health inequalities.

There is strong support from GP practices in Cornwall for social prescribing who say many people with housing or benefits problems, lifestyle issues or are lonely are coming through their doors.

One advocate is a GP practice in St Austell, who has been running a social prescribing pilot since 2016. 

Dr Stewart Smith from practice explained: “We have seen impressive results from introducing social prescribing into our practice. Our social prescriber can offer the time which GPs don’t have to discuss with patients what matters to them, and give them the confidence and support necessary to address difficulties in their daily life or make and sustain a change in lifestyle.”   

Sally Hawken, portfolio holder for Children and Wellbeing & Public Health said  “We all aspire to support a healthy Cornwall. Social prescribing has significant potential to help address underlying challenges to people’s health, such as social isolation and mental wellbeing.

“There is a range of emerging evidence which shows that social prescribing can lead to improvements in areas such as quality of life and emotional wellbeing, mental and general wellbeing, and levels of depression and anxiety and have also led to a reduction in the use of NHS services. 

“These are all goals of our Shaping the Future strategy and it’s great to be delivering this in partnership with the voluntary sector, who are often closest to their own local communities and are vital to connecting people with community services.”

Andy Brelsford, Support and Development Manager for Volunteer Cornwall added: “One of the key features of this service is that it’s about your life and your choices. You get to choose what you are working towards and the team will draw upon all of the opportunities and activities available in the locality that can help you do that, whether this is about helping you get active and feel better, being more linked in with your local community, or resolving problems on issues such as money, benefits or housing.”

Make Britain Imaginative Again

As part of Volunteer Cornwall's 40th Anniversary Celebrations, we are delighted to announce that, in partnership with The University of Exeter, we will be welcoming Rob Hopkins to deliver a Croust Talk entitled 'Make Britain Imaginative Again'.
Rob Hopkins is the founder of the Transition movement, author of 'The Transition Handbook' and 'The Power of Just Doing Stuff', a writer, blogger, public speaker and serial storyteller. He appeared in the French film phenomenon 'Demain' ('Tomorrow'), was voted one of 'Britain's 50 New Radicals', has done TED talks, and jointly runs an award-winning social enterprise craft brewery. Rob is currently writing a book about imagination, and its neglected role in our society and in our attempts to reimagine and rebuild the world.
In this participatory talk, Rob will explore why, in 2018, our collective imagination is in such a weakened state, and what a re-prioritising of the imagination in our schools, universities, media, activism and politics might look like. If you ran for Prime Minister on a platform of 'Make Britain Imaginative Again', what would your policies be? Is climate change the greatest failure of the imagination in the history of the world, and if so, why might that be? Expect a thought-provoking session full of his ideas, and yours. www.robhopkins.net.