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Notes of Interest

NET not only has its regular events and clubs but also supports and assists various other public services and is often asked to attend their meetings.

NET also assists the training of social workers by providing work placements for university students during their courses.

Other regular visitors are student doctors on placement with local medical practices in the area. The students some of our events and gain valuable social interaction skills.

                                     A selection of “Other” NET activities can be seen below:-

One of our volunteers, Philomena (Philly) joined Jonny I’Anson on his Radio Leeds morning show on Saturday 01-04-2017 to tell her story of how she became a volunteer at NET and how this has helped change her life for not only her benefit but the benefit of others in the community.

Medical Student Visits to NET

A group of medical students from the University of Leeds carried out a community visit to NET whilst on placement at Primary Care.The University provided copies of their reports.

Hi Monica

Here is another report for you from our second year students. Thank you again for having them, apparently this is the second time you hosted this particular group. I think from next year I will spread the love and get them to visit different organisations for their second year so they meet a range of different clients, but we can have a chat about what works for you as well. I know that AVSED have been a bit overwhelmed by their own popularity this year and I am just making sure you don’t find our students too much of a burden.  As things stand this year, I have little control or knowledge about where they are all going, but I hope to change the organisation of our community visits  for next year and look forward to your input on this.

Here is the student report J     Community Visit

For our community placement we visited the Neighborhood Elders Team (NET) in Garforth that is an establishment that cares for the wellbeing of the elderly and their carers. They offer a range of classes that allow the clients to socialise with others and ultimately bring the community together. From our short encounter with the staff and clients, we immediately noticed the enthusiastic and lively atmosphere and could see that the NET made a huge difference to the lives and health of everyone. The NET can be contacted on: 0113 287 4784 or emailed at: info.netgarforth.org

 The Garforth Neighborhood Elders’ Team are a truly inspirational organization providing a wide range of support to the elders within the local community. A few examples of support they offer is through home visits, phone calls, coffee mornings and potentially most impressively the befriending one to one support system which is expertly organised to give companionship to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. An organisation such as the NET must constantly evolve to meet demands and explore opportunities when they arise. This means as new instructors/entertainment come and go the time table of activities will change. A part of the NET that we had not experienced in the first year of visiting was the food bank which they hold and how this is used often to support the community, for example by helping those who struggle financially or have just come of hospital. One of the biggest differences we noticed was that they were in talks for having lower limb community treatment sessions (for issue such as leg ulcers etc) at the NET to enable holistic care and promote things such as social prescribing. This could have a great impact on widening access to medical care and also promote groups such as the NET as people will go there for some treatment and discover its purpose.

This year, we attended the NET coffee morning, which occurs every Thursday. This involved a large group of people socialising, whilst enjoying tea, coffee and biscuits. The friendships that had been built between the group through this weekly event were very evident and pleasing to see. There were also games such as bingo, raffles and a quiz. By bringing people within the local area together for this event weekly, a sense of community was apparent within the group. Last year, we also attended NET and participated in the chair yoga session that also occurs weekly there. This was slightly different as the chair yoga allowed people with either limited movement, or issues such as chronic pain to physically relieve their symptoms, whilst also meeting other people like themselves. However, the event we participated in this year was much more based on socialising. Nonetheless, what has become apparent through our two visits is how much the organisation is valued by the people who visit. This has stayed the same. Elderly individuals are more susceptible to and social isolation, which have a detrimental effect on health. However, by speaking to many people at the coffee morning, it was clear that the events at NET help to prevent things such as isolation and loneliness, and instead gives people something to look forward to every week.

It was very clear to see the enjoyment the clients got out of the NET. When we attended the coffee morning there were over 40 people enjoying the cake, tea and biscuits. However, what was most apparent was the joy they got from chatting to other people like them. Throughout the morning, there was lively debate and discussion regarding the quiz they all took part in and various topics of conversation that were being had.  In speaking to many of the clients, we learnt how much they valued the services the NET provided. Highest on the list of values was the motivation to get out of the house, encouraging the clients to become proactive in what they did with the day and who they saw. This prevents isolations and loneliness which is a common problem in this demographic. I was touched by a story from one of the users who said the NET has helped him find joy in life after the passing of his wife eight years ago.

Not only does the NET promote good mental health, but various classes such as the walking group, chair yoga and dancercise are brilliant ways for the elderly to keep up their levels of activity, aiding conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes and vascular diseases. Furthermore, a new ‘group’ is starting called the leg group which is where any service users who have referrals regarding the health of their leg can meet up over coffee and cake to check any progression of disease or give any treatment where necessary. The nature of the meeting is primarily relaxed with a social emphasis, making those who may benefit from attending more likely to go and prevent the worsening of leg conditions such as leg ulcers and oedema. Catching and treating signs early on reduces the stress on GPs and hospital doctors as it prevents the worsening of conditions. Patients are more likely to enjoy this than going to the GP or hospital.

Through doctors having links with the NET, they are able to socially prescribe these group sessions if they suspect they would benefit from them. It can sometimes be scary for patients to self-refer or to even be aware of services and so it is essential that good ties are maintained between this voluntary group the doctors so that both patients and practitioners can benefit from the positive effects.                     Student Names: Danny Smith, Rachel Lewis, Mursaleen Choudhury, Zarriar Khalid