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Durham University

Van Mildert College

Community Visiting Scheme

Summary 2013

Van Mildert Community Visiting Scheme (CVS) is one of Van Mildert’s oldest outreach projects and is the only one working with vulnerable adults rather than children or young people. The Scheme provides Mildertians with a way to access the local community and its many stories and traditions. Our 25 visitors go weekly to an elderly person's house to keep them company, tell them about their week and be a listening ear. Loneliness is an often unrecognised problem in many elderly people, but one that can have serious physical and psychological consequences, and so we aim to remedy that. Whether it is drinking tea, watching Countdown or just having a chat, CVS Visitors provide a highlight to many people's week.

Our visitors are allocated a person to visit when they join the Committee and will often continue to visit this person for the remainder of their time in Durham, with many even staying in touch after graduation. In total, we visit 10 elderly people in pairs or threes but are always looking for more people through St. Oswald’s Church, coffee mornings at St. Oswald’s Institute and friends of the people we visit. A visit will usually last around one to two hours, but are very flexible and tailored to the elderly person’s and the visitors’ other commitments.

The Scheme also holds coffee mornings across the year in St. Oswald's Institute, which bring many new people into the Scheme and into contact with students. This year, we are planning an afternoon tea at Brambles Coffee Shop, Shincliffe, which all the elderly people, visitors and friends of the Scheme have been invited to. Financially, the Scheme is in generally in good stead through the JCR budget, and this year a donation from the SCR. We also try and do some fundraising throughout the year to raise a little extra, but also just to raise the profile of the Scheme, as it can often go forgotten. This year our fundraisers have included: helping to run the Outreach (Halloween) Formal, bar quizzes, selling mince pies at the Christmas bar party and running a stall at Mildert Day.

Ben Hodgkiss, Project Leader

“During my final year at Durham, I volunteered with the Community Visiting Scheme - I wish I had signed up in my first year! Through visiting Connie I gained so much. It was always a delight to chat to her over some tea and biscuits, sharing stories old and new! The scheme is truly an invaluable part of Van Mildert's outreach. ”
Rory Goodman, CVS Volunteer