Harpenden Trust Care Fund Update, April 2024

At the time of writing our Seniors Fair Team have been working very hard to get everything in place for the Harpenden Trust Seniors Fair on 10 April – a separate update is available (previous News item). 


Home Visits: we have been supported by the Harpenden Money Advice service for the past 15 years and last week they celebrated their 15th anniversary. Call numbers were down slightly early in 2024 but we are still helping over 40 families each month. Although calls for furniture items are down there have been some really challenging issues to solve. 

Care Fund Grants (Utilities): this year the Care Fund Grants (Utilities) awarded some 70 grants to seniors to contribute to the cost of their utility payments. The total amount awarded this year was £27,200. The grant increases in recent years reflect the large increase in energy prices, although this trend now seems to be stabilising. 

Care Fund Grants (School Courses) (formerly Youth and Schools): we have seen a large increase in applications over the past two months (reflecting the trend of schools arranging school trips at this time of year for the Summer). This year so far we have awarded 39 grants and have just received an additional 9 applications to be processed. 

Harpenden Wellbeing: we continue to accept clients only following a referral made by the GP/Social Prescriber. Wellbeing Friends continue to help referrals connect with a variety of activities. The Men’s outreach project, ‘For and With Men’, with our Mind in Mid Herts outreach worker, is developing our Smartphone photography group and Men’s Shed, is liaising with local gyms and visiting local food banks to offer support, whilst also working to signpost men into our existing groups. We have seen an uptake in men engaging with these groups. 

Mind in Mid Herts are now seeking an additional Outreach Worker to run the new Men’s group, as well as visiting the Harpenden, Redbourn and Wheathampstead food banks. All of the groups are continuing to grow. We now have an additional pottery session running each week for returners, and we have some wonderful volunteers supporting this and making it happen. The first returners course ran November–December and was a huge success. 30 new people joined our project this quarter, bringing the total number of people supported to 68 for the year. 

The pottery group is now on its 21st cohort and remains the most popular group, with all courses fully booked until May 2024! The walking group continues to run weekly and remains a great form of social support for all members! We have 10 regular members who have formed really lovely friendships with each other. The wellbeing group has 9 regular attendees. Attendance numbers at the group have massively increased over the past 6 months. The group was a big hit in December with our festive craft activities. 

Frazzled Café: numbers continue at around 4-7 per week with a number of regulars. The Memory Lane Café and Intergenerational Choir are still a great success with a wide range of activities and are much loved by volunteers and guests alike as highlighted in the latest issue of the HTC Forum magazine. Arts on Prescription courses are a great success and it was pleasing to be nominated for a Mayor’s Pride award. 

Youth Talk: the group sessions have just finished and the success of the pilot groups is being evaluated. 

Library Support: the 12 Library Support Volunteers continue to provide cover to keep Harpenden Library open on Wednesday afternoons. This support is greatly appreciated by Hertfordshire Library Services. 

Ribbon Cancer Support Group: this continues to grow and reach more people. It was also featured in the latest issue of Forum which is great publicity. 

Well Bean Café: the Inner Wheel have so far held two Sunday afternoon teas in the Cafe, aimed at people who are on their own on Sundays and fancy a chance to meet up with others. They are planning to continue this once a month. It is great to see the Cafe being used by so many groups as well as our regular weekday morning sessions. 

PD Buddies: the exercise class for those with Parkinsons, in partnership with Everyone Active, continues to thrive with about 15 -18 people at each of the 2 sessions. The table tennis group now meets every week and is growing. 

Befriending: the number of befrienders and befriendees remains static but with continual change. The Chatting Café, started in January, has been a great success. It is an invite-only coffee morning for Wellbeing and Befriending clients with an aim to provide a social space for people to chat in a welcoming environment, as well as to drink great coffee and cakes. 

Transport: with new drivers joining us over the last few weeks our total is 28 drivers. This has enabled us to allocate regular drivers for many of our clients attending the Tuesday and Thursday coffee mornings. We provide transport for approximately 12 regular clients attending the two weekly coffee mornings, although we often have additional clients attending on an ad hoc basic and requiring transport. We also provide transport for clients attending the weekly Memory Lane Café and the Arts on Prescription activities. 

Minibus: progress reports suggest an imminent April delivery. We are organising supplementary safety equipment and driver orientation for the vehicle, booking arrangements and a driver log. Initial use will focus on internal Trust users such as coffee mornings, although several external groups that have made enquiries will be considered for early use. 

Hall Bookings: Trust Centre decoration works are planned for the summer holidays. Otherwise hall hire remains busy with new bookings and with some users moving from No. 90 to No. 130. 

Seniors Outings: we currently have some 140 clients who are offered at least one trip a year, although we continue to try to accommodate referrals from Befriending as they able to assess genuine need/ potential benefit on a first-hand basis. The mobility of older clients remains a challenge when looking at what trips they are able to partake in and we have made some changes to the trips being offered this year. Trips planned for 2024 include: boat trips on the Grand Union Canal; afternoon teas at Harpenden Common Golf Club; trips to a garden centre; a Christmas afternoon tea at Harpenden Common Golf Club; with other trips in planning. 

Christmas Appeal: a very final count of some £55,600 for the 2023 Appeal.


Nick Luckett, Chair, Care Fund

23 April 2024

In Other News

A FEW TICKETS ARE STILL AVAILABLE - DON'T MISS OUT .... Party Aint Over - Music From the 1960s and '70s to Raise Money for the Trust - Saturday, 1 June

16 May 2024
Harpenden Band the‘Party Aint Over’ will be performing live at the Trust Halls (above the Co-op supermarket in Southdown) to raise money for the Harpenden Trust, on Saturday, 1 June, at 7.00 pm.

Well Done! Roundwood School Young Enterprise Progress to Regional Final

01 May 2024
The Harpenden Trust's Community Fund have been pleased to support Harpenden's senior schools in participating in the Young Enterprise project where students start up and run their own businesses. A national competition is run each year and this year Roundwood School are to be congratulated for progressing to the regional final having won the North and East Herts area competition, their company Aurora beating 17 other schools in the final at the University of Hertfordshire. 

The Well Bean Community Cafe - A Vibrant Community Hub Dedicated to Fostering Connection, Conversation and a Shared Love of a Mid-morning Cup of Tea or Coffee

30 April 2024
Come and join us at The Well Bean Cafe in the Harpenden Trust’s premises at 130a Southdown Road (above the Co-Op supermarket). Open weekdays 10.30 am to 12.30pm, the cafe boasts a range of hot and cold drinks and delicious cakes baked by our own volunteers. We do not set any prices; the cafe runs on a pay-what-you-can system via the self-service terminal by our counter. 

Hurrah the Rovers!

28 April 2024
The Harpenden Trust Community Fund have been delighted to have supported Harpenden Rovers Youth FC who have seen the number of members grow to over 200 boys and girls aged between five and thirteen. They play at Katherine Warington School, Harpenden and are also delighted to display the Harpenden Trust logo on all their corner flags.