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Volume 1, Issue 1
July 2001

New Vehicle Hits The Streets
Thanks to the generosity of local people, organisations and national charities, a new vehicle bearing the red SERVE logo is now visible on the streets of Rushden and surrounding areas.

In May, a new Multi Purpose vehicle with mechanical lifting gear for wheelchairs was acquired at a cost of £17,000.

This new vehicle will give SERVE much greater flexibility in scheduling journeys to the Day Centres and, being smaller, can be used for individual transportation.

The official handover ceremony was held recently and was attended by the Mayor of Rushden Cllr Clive Woods, the Chairman of East Northants District Council Cllr Albert Campbell together with representatives of major donors, Rushden Golf Club, Barclays Bank and The Lloyds/TSB Foundation.

SERVE Fete And Open Day
On Saturday 9th June, SERVE held a Fete and Open Day at Rushden Hall. The event was to show the community what SERVE has to offer and to try and raise some money at the same time. We would like to thank all the staff and volunteers who kindly helped on the day. We managed to raise £800 with the help of companies who generously donated items for our raffle.

New Mayor—New Centre
The recently installed Mayor of Higham Ferrers, Cllr Anna Sauntson, officially opened the Ron Manning Centre in Higham Ferrers by unveiling a plaque.

Although the Centre has been running for some months it has only recently started opening for five days a week and now has a full time Manager, Mrs Christine Slater.

The Centre is appropriately named after a very prominent local volunteer who devoted his time in keeping the streets of Higham Ferrers clean and litter free and who unfortunately died a couple of years ago.

The Ron Manning Centre offers a useful and needy extra service on Monday and Friday when it caters for clients who require more attention and care in bathing.

Day Centre Re-Named

The Crane Centre, which is in the grounds of Rushden Hospital, Wymington Road, has been re-named The Sylvia Smith Centre.

At a presentation ceremony during the SERVE Open Day at Rushden Hall, a brass plaque was presented to Sylvia Smith which will be displayed at the Centre.

Operations Director Barry Graves, who has taken over from Sylvia, said “This is in recognition of the years of dedicated service that Sylvia has given both to SERVE and the people of Rushden. The old Crane was Sylvia’s idea and the introduction of a Health Farm was both innovative and professional and reflects Sylvia’s attitude to care”.

The Chairman of the Management Committee, Peter Pillai, also paid tribute to Sylvia during the presentation and wished her a long and happy retirement.

New Volunteer Co-ordinator

Richard Massey has joined SERVE as the Volunteer Co-ordinator. Richard is well known at SERVE through his connection with the St Vincent de Paul Society, whose mini-bus we have shared for the past five years. He also works as a volunteer with other charitable organisations.

“SERVE is a Voluntary Organisation” said Richard “and, as such, is very dependant upon its volunteers. We need to keep them involved and informed and not take them for granted. As a volunteer myself, I am aware of how easy it is to become detached from the organisation”.
A major part of Richard’s time will be spent on trying to recruit new volunteers. One of his initiatives is to work closely with the local Job Centre to encourage people seeking employment to spend some time volunteering. The benefits are reciprocal—SERVE gains some well needed help and experience and the volunteer enhances his or her c.v. through work experience.

In addition to his duties as Volunteer Co-ordinator, Richard will also be responsible for Staff Training & Development.

Accident Prevention

SERVE has launched a new service aimed at reducing accidents in the home. The scheme, which is funded by the NHS, Northants County Council and Age Concern, Rushden, operates throughout East Northants and is available to anyone who is over 60 years of age or disabled.

A volunteer who is suitably trained will visit the house and assess the work that is required and, providing it is within his scope, will pass the enquiry to SERVE’s Handyman for completion.

The type of work covers things like installing grab rails, changing light bulbs and fixing loose carpets. Any work that cannot be handled by the Handyman is referred to other agencies such as Care & Repair. Advice is also given where necessary on any available grant aid that may be available. The only charge for the work is for the materials used.
SERVE are working with Volunteer Action in Oundle to ensure that the whole of the area is covered and the scheme was officially launched by Phil Hope MP at the end of April. Following the launch Barry Graves said “There is a need to try to eliminate accidents in the home. Some 87% of all accidents involving the elderly occur at home. SERVE are pioneering this scheme in East Northants and I am certain that it will grow enormously over the coming months”.

Volunteer Notice Board
Frank Driscoll has had to give up running the Computer Training at Church Street due to ill health. We all send our best wishes and thanks to Frank for the wonderful work that he has done in establishing the Club.

The Club will continue to be run by Mick Bowers and Gerry Allen.

Staff Matters
We are pleased to announce that Debbie Moore has been promoted to Transport Manager.
Christine Slater has taken over as Manager of the Ron Manning Centre at Higham Ferrers.
Sally Richardson is the new cook at Church Street.
Mollie Parsons has not been too well recently and we hope that she will soon feel better and look forward to her return.


Dear Mrs Moore
Just to say a big thank you to all who work so hard in the Transport Service to help us, and look after us, with such loving care. I am deeply grateful, and am sure many others are also. It is a really blessed service.
Kath Emtage

The Late Laura Wheatley
Now that the funeral is over and I have given up the keys to Mum’s bungalow, I feel that I should take a moment to thank all at SERVE who looked after my Mother during the period from September ‘96 until recently.
Whilst moving into a Care Home has proved to be the best way for many people to tackle the problems of old age, Laura always wanted to stay in her own home and I think that, for her, this was by far the best option. I am convinced that being able to remain at home gave her several extra years of contentment with a fair few laughs along the way.
Living at home would have been impossible without the continual efforts of the SERVE Carers so I would like all those involved to know how grateful I am for all that you have done. I am certain that Laura would add her sincere and deepest thanks to mine if she could and I can only hope that this note will be adequate to do it for her.
Norman Wheatley

Dear Peter Pillai
How do you thank people for an honour such as you have bestowed on me? I think for the first time in my life I have been speechless. Hence the long time in putting together this letter.
My Grandson has not stopped telling people that his Nana has had a building named after her and he echoes my family’s appreciation of what you have done.
May I also remind everyone that SERVE is where it is today because of the support of people like yourself and all those others in our community that believed in an idea to help older people.
Thank you all.
Love Sylvia Smith

Editors Note
This is the first of what I hope will be a regular quarterly publication.

It is your Newsletter so please send contributions, articles, letters, etc. to

Heidi Dear, 19 Church Street, Rushden, NN10 9YU. Tel : 01933 315555. Fax : 01933 395747. E-Mail :