A personal welfare service
Almoners are volunteers, associated with the news trade, who visit existing beneficiaries and new applicants on our behalf.
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 115 active almoners visiting over 600 households around the UK.
Existing beneficiaries enjoy three visits a year, during which their regular benefit cheques are delivered and regular contact is maintained. 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.
The first home visit
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.
Relieving isolation and loneliness
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 visits and we often hear that the visits are valued as much as the cheques that are delivered.
Could you be an almoner for NewstrAid?
Many of our almoners have been visiting beneficiaries for years and are elderly themselves. Every year we lose a number of our most experienced and valued volunteers due to old age and/or health problems and it is vital that they are replaced in order to ensure our welfare services continue to reach those who need our support.
Almoners find their role very rewarding and we are always looking for new recruits. All that is needed is a news trade 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 almoner. You will be issued with an informative induction pack before you are asked to visit anybody 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.
We run regular almoner workshops to support our almoners in their role and we provide full training. Almoners do not need any specific welfare knowledge – all welfare matters are referred back to us.
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 and this is particularly true of the elderly who have lived through very hard times in their earlier years and whose philosophy has always been to provide for themselves.
The need for help is greater than ever before and we hope to be able to continue to work as we do now, with trade people helping their less fortunate former colleagues.
Meet one of our almoners!
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 11 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 means that I can deliver a cheque personally to people less fortunate than myself. 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”.