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Meet some of the Aviva volunteers helping Norwich communities

PUBLISHED: 14:10 12 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:15 12 May 2020

Lynsey and her children, Talia and Max, have been making pictures, crafting and writing letters to care home residents  Picture: Lynsey McMaster-Green

Lynsey and her children, Talia and Max, have been making pictures, crafting and writing letters to care home residents Picture: Lynsey McMaster-Green

Archant

Encouraging staff to volunteer is part of the company culture at Aviva. As with so many things right now, the outbreak of coronavirus has turned the way Aviva employees volunteer upside down. Here we find out how the coronavirus outbreak has changed the way three Aviva employees are making use of their time to volunteer.

Lynsey's daughter Talia with some of the care home residents they were visiting before lockdown   Picture: Lynsey Mcmaster-GreenLynsey's daughter Talia with some of the care home residents they were visiting before lockdown Picture: Lynsey Mcmaster-Green

As part of its work with the Norwich Together Alliance, Aviva is working closely with charities who need people to volunteer their time and skills remotely. Each member of staff is given 21 hours of volunteering leave per year and are ready and willing to help.

Here are three great examples of how Aviva employees have innovated the way they volunteer...

Lynsey McMaster-Green, corporate responsibility consultant

As part of her 21 hours of volunteer time, Joanna Frost has been making ear protectors to make PPE more comfortable for vital NHS workers. Picture: Joanne FrostAs part of her 21 hours of volunteer time, Joanna Frost has been making ear protectors to make PPE more comfortable for vital NHS workers. Picture: Joanne Frost

I volunteer along with my two young children, Talia and Max, for an Aviva Community Fund-winning charity called Friend in Deed.

The charity creates friendship through various intergenerational initiatives, and the aim is to reduce loneliness and promote kindness, particularly amongst those who are socially isolated or have dementia.

Through the charity’s Little Visitors scheme we’ve become good friends with John – an elderly, bed-bound gentleman at a local care home who we write to, send pictures to and go to visit.

The charity also organises fun, inclusive community events such as tea parties and craft afternoons where the children and older people interact together and remind the elderly that they still form an integral part of the local community.

Joanna has made 100 ear protectors for NHS workers   Picture: Joanne FrostJoanna has made 100 ear protectors for NHS workers Picture: Joanne Frost

Because of the current lockdown, Friend in Deed – like so many charities – are having to adapt the way they support those they care for because the face-to-face elements of the scheme have been put on hold.

Instead, over the last few weeks, my children have been able to connect with their elderly friends in a number of inventive ways; they’ve contributed to nursery rhyme video montages which have been played back to the residents, been doing crafts at home to share with the care home residents who have also been making them, and written an ‘about me’ piece so residents feel connected to their Little Visitors.

Not only does this prevent a sense of loneliness and isolation, it also continues to build the relationships already in place and is a meaningful way to keep my kids busy and educated during lockdown.

I love that it also helps them understand the value of kindness and compassion at this difficult time.

Paula Hall has been making scrub hats and washbags for the frontline workers at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital   Picture: Paula HallPaula Hall has been making scrub hats and washbags for the frontline workers at the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital Picture: Paula Hall

Joanne Frost, brand governance consultant

I wanted to get involved and help as I know that local hospitals and care homes are crying out for personal protective equipment (PPE).

I had seen that people were starting to make crocheted ear protectors and thought I could use the volunteer hours the company provides to make them. I don’t crochet but I’ve had a sewing machine which has been collecting dust for years as I’ve never used it. So, I thought I would dig it out, learn how to use it and have a go at making some ear protectors.

I started off by making a couple for my next-door neighbour, who is a senior nurse in the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital ICU to see if they would be of any use. She asked if I could make a lot more as she could take them in to the wards that need them.

So I set to work and have been making them ever since. I’ve had so many people reaching out to me from hospitals and care homes – I’ve made around 100 over the last few days and will continue to make them until they’re not needed.

Paula Hall, communication consultant

My brother works for Lotus cars and they were appealing for people who can sew to help stitch washbags and scrub hats for local causes including the Norfolk & Norwich University Hospital.

My whole family got involved, including my 77-year-old mum, my brother and sister-in-law and her mum.

I used some of my Aviva volunteering time to get stitching, and between us we made 20 bags and 65 hats.

I really enjoyed the opportunity to get involved and do something that will help those that are going above and beyond every day within their roles on the frontline.

It’s inspired me to do more and I have also started making face masks and more washbags for people that need them.

If you know a charity that needs support, get in touch at volunteering@aviva.com

Norwich Together Alliance

In a time of isolation, helping communities to connect has never been more important. It’s vital for our health and wellbeing.

With an ambition to tackle loneliness and social isolation in Norwich, Aviva established the Norwich Together Alliance last year.

The alliance is a network of local businesses, charities and the council that have joined forces to explore how we can shape our city to help us all feel more connected.

The aim is to create a more connected and cohesive city for everyone.

Now more than ever, alliance members wants to be there for you and offer the support and guidance you need to get through this challenging time.

For more information and stories on what the Norwich Together Alliance members are doing to bring Norwich Together during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.


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