Our almoner home visits are a key element of our welfare service. Our almoners are the human faces of NewstrAid and, through their home visits, they enable us to deliver our welfare service on a personal, local level, which means so much more to those in need of support. We currently have 78 active almoners visiting over 500 households around the UK.
Existing beneficiaries enjoy at least two visits a year. This provides beneficiaries with an opportunity to raise any worries or concerns they are currently experiencing. All information is kept totally confidential and the dignity of our beneficiaries is respected at all times.
Home visits tell us much about a person’s quality of life and they allow almoners to identify areas where support is specifically needed much more than a telephone call ever could.
Where an almoner is available, new applicants will always receive an almoner visit as part of the application process. We understand how daunting it can be to approach a charity for help and all almoners have a news trade connection, so they have something in common with new applicants before they meet. This common ground helps to break the ice during the first visit and puts people at ease from the offset. Almoners will also assist with completion of the application form and answer any queries that arise.
Our almoner service allows us to alleviate isolation and loneliness, a particular problem for the elderly and disabled who may have little contact with others. A chat over a cup of tea can mean the world to somebody who does not have family or friends living nearby or cannot get out due to poor health or old age.
Beneficiaries can also request a visit from their almoner if they need support outside of their usual contact and we often hear that the visits are valued as much as the financial support they receive.
Almoners find their role very rewarding and we are always looking for new recruits. All that is needed is a newstrade connection and a willingness to lend a sympathetic listening ear. You are free to dedicate as little or as much time as you wish.
Please note that full training is available on all aspects of the role of an almoner. You will be issued with an informative induction pack before you are asked to visit a beneficiary and you will also be given the opportunity to attend an almoner workshop. Telephone support from our welfare team is available at all times. Almoners do not need any specific welfare knowledge as all welfare matters are referred back to the welfare staff at head office.
What is most important is to always respect the pride and dignity of those you visit. It is very difficult for many people to ask for help.
“I enjoy being an almoner as it gives me the opportunity to give something back to society.” Mike Buckmaster, joined WHSmith Wholesale in 1959 and worked his way up to senior management until he retired in 1998. He became an almoner in Oxfordshire 16 years ago, taking on 2 beneficiaries, which has since gradually increased to 9 households.
Mike says “I enjoy being an almoner as it gives me the opportunity to give something back to society. It also ensures, where possible, NewstrAid is able to help the beneficiaries where it is needed. I have seen for myself the way the financial help has put a smile on faces.
Recently, whilst visiting one of my beneficiaries, she mentioned that a friend had lost her husband and she previously worked for WHS Retail. Her friend now also receives NewstrAid help”.