WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY GROUP FOR?
Formed in 1971, the Puttenham & Wanborough Community Group was the idea of a group of residents, concerned about the needs of villagers in times of personal difficulty. At that time not every home had a telephone, let alone a car BUT there were services available in the villages in the form of shops and Post Offices, doctors and chiropodists clinics and regular bus services. Originally, each member of the Committee was the representative for their corner of the village so people knew who to contact for assistance. At this time the idea of a Village Directory came about as a quick and useful guide – the Blackbird symbol on the cover was taken from the alarm call of the many blackbirds in village gardens – if anyone was in trouble and could not summon help, they were to put the Directory in their window so that it would hopefully be noticed and help would be forthcoming. Nowadays, most of us have both a landline and mobile phone and older residents living alone can be part of an alarm system at the press of a button on their wrist or round their neck. Initially, all sorts of help was required as the amount of more official and organised support was not as widely available as it is today but lifts to appointments were not required as much as they are in 2005. Now services are “centralised” and buses a rare commodity, the need for lifts has mushroomed and forms the bulk of our volunteer assistance, along with prescription collection and shopping for the housebound. Fund raising was always a feature of the Group as money has traditionally been available for emergency help to anyone in the villages and the Village Directory is updated every 2 years and is produced free of charge to every household.
Today we are a bunch of 30 volunteers, either acting as drivers or Committee members. We try to identify those most in need of assistance and now we have no village centres in the form of shops, we are trying to provide occasions where residents can meet up and gossip! It must be said that not only are the volunteers both past and present simply marvellous but the work and activities are fun and rewarding too! We always enjoy the fund raising and are indebted to the kind donations we receive from various sources within the villages – our aim is to use the funds as widely as possible and to that end, we have recently amalgamated with the Over 60’s Party Committee to ensure full funding for the annual Christmas Party and similar events in Wanborough. We also plan to launch a Bursary Scheme for younger residents shortly.
Despite the relative mobility and affluence of life today, it reveals alot when calls come to the Organiser starting with “I didn’t know who else to ring – I thought the Community Group would know what to do We like to think we can help with ANY problem and see no reason for the calls for help to ever lessen! If you need help with transport or at times of illness, or if you would like to offer to give some help, just contact: The Organiser, Angie Briggs