16th - Good neighbours
For some people, the church can be a bit like a Tardis: it’s much bigger on the inside than it appears to be from the outside. We know our particular church building, squeezed between York Road and Mount Hermon Road in Woking, is a bit like that. It’s almost invisible from the road but, for those who step inside, there is a whole community which comes together, worships together, supports each other and serves our wider community.
In this series for Advent we want to open some windows so everyone can see a bit more of who we are and what goes on in a church like ours.
South West Woking Assisting Neighbours (SWAN) is one of over 100 voluntary good neighbour schemes in Surrey. Like the others, it provides community-based care and support for people in the local community of Mount Hermon Ward and Barnsbury who need help with some of the basics of day-to-day living, with that support provided by volunteers from the community.
These good neighbours donate their time to help others with things like shopping, visiting friends, attending GP and hospital appointments, pension and prescription collection, and more.
Volunteer drivers collect their neighbours from their homes, take them to where they need to go, and return them safely back home again - all for a nominal fee.
Gaynor Broda, a local resident and member of St Mary of Bethany Church, has been a volunteer with SWAN for a couple of years and very much enjoys being able to offer her time and her car to helping others in the community who are in need of a helping hand.
Why has she been involved with SWAN? The reason, she says is “because I can, and why wouldn't you? I have met some fascinating and lovely folk over this period who have taught me about cooperation, compassion and myself.”
Have you ever thought of being a community volunteer yourself? You can give as much or as little time as you choose. Or perhaps you could do with assisting from a good neighbour from time to time.
SWAN can be contacted by mobile on 07913 282 346 Monday-Friday 10am-12noon or by email at swan@firstname.lastname@example.org