Praise for village agents
VILLAGE agents were thanked and their efforts highlighted at the Village Agents Showcase.
On September 3, at Staplegrove Village Hall, the village agents project highlighted the great work that is being done across Somerset with 15 village agents supporting just over a third of Somerset’s rural communities.
The village agents scheme aims to provide vulnerable people with access to services and information they might otherwise find difficult to obtain for themselves, the project is run by the Community Council for Somerset.
The Community Council for Somerset is a charitable organisation supporting action in communities across Somerset.
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This initiative has been made possible thanks to funding by The Big Lottery fund, the Bernard Herridge Trust and Total Somerset via the Taunton Deane Partnership and Help & Advice Across Somerset (HAAS).
Village agents support people by bridging the gap between the local community and the statutory or voluntary sector organisations.
They provide high quality face-to-face information and support in addition to offering a facilitated signposting service to put people in direct contact with the appropriate agency.
They work to identify unmet needs within their communities and help individuals to make informed choices about their future needs.
They support vulnerable, disadvantaged and isolated people of all ages. The Agent lives in or near to their parish clusters so has local knowledge and understanding which contributes to them becoming a trusted dependable member of their community providing a much needed preventative care service.
More importantly village agents do not just visit once, they get results they research, resource and follow up checking their clients are making progress.
Sarah Aston, the village agents manager who runs the Somerset Village Agents project, said: “The Village Agents project has really made a difference to the people of Somerset, so far our agents have held 403 meetings and advice sessions reaching 5,889 people in isolated communities - which is fantastic.
"The project has been running for over a year now and we have had great feedback from our clients. 100 per cent of them said they feel safer and better informed with the Village Agents support.”
Ms Penfold, whose village agent is Val, said: “If wasn’t for Val coming to help me, I wouldn’t know what to do."
Mr and Mrs Walford, whose village agent is Andrea, said: “We see her regularly now, so, if we need any help or assistance she helps us…they are great really, absolutely great, it’s a life line and she helps such a lot.”
Mrs Tucker had a problem with a leaking boiler emitting fumes into her property, whose village agent is Andrea, said: “I was in dire straits and I was feeling ill, Andrea took such a load off of my mind.”
If you wish to know more about Village Agents and if you want to know if there is a village agent in your area, contact Sarah Aston on email@example.com or call 01823 331222.
Want to know more about Somerset Village Agents? Watch this video to tell you more about the project: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9f4Ndmxsqns.