Volunteers still available to offer a helping hand to those in need

THE work of community volunteers has continued through the third pandemic lockdown with more than 130 pairs of socks donated to the homeless in Woking and a mass leaflet drop in Horsell by the village support group.

KStJB founder Sonal Sher

The Knaphill, St John’s, Brookwood (KStJB) Volunteers Support Group delivered 131 pairs of socks to the York Road Project after an idea sparked by a gift to the group’s founder, Sonal Sher.

Sonal, who set up KStJB in March last year, was given a pair of socks by the volunteers and so she decided to ask for donations to give to the homeless.

“A lot of people make donations to charities around Christmas but then it tends to drop off,” Sonal said.

“We made sure the socks were bigger men’s sizes, which is useful if you are layering.”

Sonal said one donor gave 27 pairs.

“She usually goes to London at Christmas to help the homeless, but this wasn’t possible and so she felt she could still help in this way.”

Sonal said the group has delivered help non-stop since the beginning of the pandemic and keeps in touch with people in need through regular “care calls”.

“It has got a bit busier recently and we have had some more volunteers joining.”

KStJB is handing out art kits to people on their own as well as children from an initiative in November last year that raised about £400 in memory of Claire Dockley, a local woman who was heavily involved in community work.

After Claire died a few months ago, Sonal decided to start fundraising to buy drawing paper and colouring-in pens.

These are given to people nominated by friends for family and a batch of kits recently went to the Hermitage School.

“I am about to deliver some to Your Sanctuary [the Woking domestic abuse charity] because some of the women being looked after have children who are stuck indoors,” Sonal said.

She said there is no age limit on who can receive the art kits.

Socks that were delivered to the York Road Project. The card drawing is by Rohan, 11

“A young girl recently contacted us to have a kit dropped off to her grandma.”

Horsell Prepared, which grew out of the Snow Angels project to help the elderly and vulnerable during freezing winter weather in the village, has delivered 4,000 leaflets after a drop-off in calls for help.

Alan Taylor, one of the group’s organisers, said the volunteers aren’t sure of the reason for the reduction in contact.

“We have the team ready to help but have people forgotten we exist, or do the people who really need our help not have access to social media?” Alan said.

He said it is possible that the reduction in calls means that Horsell Prepared’s work in help people to become more independent has been successful.

“We encouraged people to be in contact with friends and relations and also had people buddy up to help each other.”

He said the group recently had its first call for help in a week and this was answered in seven minutes.

Horsell Prepared’s weekly quizzes and coffee mornings are proving popular.

“We have stepped up the coffee mornings with people giving talks and demonstrations of what they do,” Alan said.

Recent speakers have included a life coach, a bee keeper and people making crafts.

● TO contact the KStJB group, email wokingvolunteers@gmail.com or call 01483 380801. For Horsell Prepared, email horsellprepared@gmail.com or call 01483 380025.

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