I am very privileged to be taking over as President when the Society is in good financial health in direct contrast to the position many old and vulnerable members of our local community find themselves in; facing dramatic cuts in Local Authority and other public spending. I feel strongly that it is incumbent on the Society to be proactive in seeking out where the need is and to use our funds in the most efficient way possible to meet those needs.
To this end, I am pleased to continue our involvement with the Older People’s Alliance, initiated and chaired by Very Revd. David Hoyles, the Dean of Bristol. This group comprises local agencies and funds and its aim is to carry out a comprehensive review of the current needs in the community resulting from the dramatic reduction in public funding. It will then encourage partnerships to meet these needs more effectively and monitor and assess how effective the funding has been. The Alliance is due to be launched officially in mid 2017.
Our links with WE Care & Repair remain strong. The President Elect and I recently visited several clients benefitting from the Dolphin Emergency Fund which enables WE C&R to undertake small works for clients who find such repairs unaffordable. It is humbling to hear that a relatively minor roof repair not only alleviates a ten year problem of water ingress into a bedroom thus halting the resulting sooty mould but more importantly allows the client to have a restful night’s sleep without the worries of damp; ill-health and poor security.
I am keen to build on the stunning success of our Past President’s ‘Home From Hospital’ project and I can report on an exciting new project with WE Care& Repair. Under this initiative, trained navigators in GP surgeries will identify clients who are at risk in their homes. WE Care & Repair have agreed to fund and appoint a Safety assessor to carry out a free Home Health check which will identify remedial works. I am proud to report that Dolphin will then pay for the essential work if the patients are unable to fund it themselves. The success of these interventions will be measured by monitoring the on-going safety of recipients. This initiative should proactively prevent accidents in unsafe homes and vitally reduce hospital admissions.
Working closely with Careline, we continue to fund the supply and 24 hour monitoring of pendant alarms enabling more than 425 people to remain living independently in their own homes. Astonishingly, some of these householders are over 100 years old. The comments we receive from clients about the peace of mind and sense of security that comes from wearing a Dolphin-funded alarm are enough alone to make me determined that my Annual Appeal will be a success.
The work of the Dolphin Society makes a real difference and long may it continue.