Plenty more FiSH... FiSH Patron Anneka Rice launches new bus
Transport is at the heart of everything that FiSH does, which is why we have bought a new fully accessible bus for our fleet. The third bus is vital to take older people to a wide range of social and cultural events and also to the supermarket.
FiSH operates its bus service in partnership with RaKAT (Richmond Kingston Accessible Transport) and demand for the service is high. In 2018/9 FiSH organised 10,544 passenger journeys on the buses. This included 100 escorted shopping trips to supermarkets, while 760 people enjoyed outings to a variety of places of interest, concerts and events; another 500 people were carried on FiSH buses hired out to different community groups in the Borough.
Since the closure of Hammersmith Bridge, local journeys through Barnes, Mortlake and Sheen can take twice as long as they should, which is not ideal for elderly passengers. A third bus means more but shorter journeys. “Our volunteer bus escorts do a splendid job caring for passengers and now we have three buses we are on the lookout for more of these essential “cabin crew” as well as drivers,“ says icky Forster, Director of FiSH. “Of course, we provide all our volunteers with relevant training to ensure they feel supported and equipped to do the job. If anyone has a few hours a week to spare and would like to help on our buses, please contact us. You will be doing an important job and it’s really fun!”
Equipping and running three accessible buses is not a cheap operation and FiSH is indebted to its regular funders and loyal supporters, including Richmond Council, Richmond Parish Lands Charity, Barnes Workhouse Fund and St Paul’s Junior School, who have made this third bus possible.
“A third bus means more outings for our members, shorter journey times on local runs, and an ability to hire out our buses to Age UK and other partner charities, “explains Micky. “FiSH accessible transport is the most important part of our operation. This is because it’s so much more than a bus service. It isn’t just about delivering people and their shopping to their front doors and taking them to lectures, concerts and classes. It’s a social event,” says FiSH Transport Co-ordinator, Deborah Carter. “This not just any bus service, this is FiSH accessible transport with psychological benefits.” Without this community transport service many older residents in Barnes, Mortlake and Sheen would be home alone and house bound.
Mercers’ Outing ‘A Day to Remember’
The Mercers’ Company is the premier of Livery Company of the City of London with a rich history and heritage going back over 700 years. Mercers originally traded in cloth.
The FiSH outing to the Mercers’ Company on 31st October proved to be so popular that we were delighted to operate two buses. Thanks to our wonderful volunteer drivers and escorts who were able to transport our clients through London traffic to Ironmongers Lane in the City.
The beginning of the journey was somewhat rocky when one bus broke down while we were still in Barnes picking up our second client. Thanks to great teamwork from our volunteers, the outing went ahead. A replacement bus (Buttercup) was delivered within an hour by RAKAT to Walsingham Lodge where we had fortunately been able to retreat. Because we were running late, we had a snack lunch en route while the other FiSH bus enjoyed their lunch as planned in a Battersea Park Cafe. The two buses eventually met up there and we were driven by K and Dominic in convoy to the door of the Mercer’s Hall arriving at the arranged time of 2pm on the dot.
On arrival we were warmly greeted by our host Mercer, soon to be Master, Peter Lane. We gathered in the beautiful reception hall where we were provided with refreshments and able to relax in luxurious comfy sofas and chairs before we began our guided tour.
We were directed to the nearby chapel where we were shown a spectacular late medieval statue of Christ discovered buried under the Mercer’s Chapel in 1953 during excavations for the new hall. Our party was then taken to the upstairs of the building and shown the impressive dining hall and meeting rooms where the walls are covered with portraits of distinguished Mercers and historical artefacts.
Our guide gave us a fascinating insight into the Livery Company, their history, how they operate today and the tremendous work they do for Charity focusing on young people and education, older people and housing as well as church and communities. The Mercers distribute up to £15m to charitable causes each year and FiSH is fortunate to be supported by them with a three year grant towards our work.
Amongst many other Mercers’ achievements, we learnt of their connection with St Paul’s School in Barnes. In 1509 John Colet, was appointed Dean of St Pauls. He was a great believer that education was an essential for spiritual regeneration, and he founded St Pauls School to provide free education for 153 boys ‘all nations and countries’. In the same year he was admitted to the Mercer Company and subsequently entrusted the management of the school to the Mercers’.
We have had wonderful feedback of the day from our clients. One wrote ‘Can I thank FiSH so very much for a wonderful day at the Mercers’. The volunteers went over and above all duties making it a fantastic trip out for us!! A day for us all to remember!
NEW - Chair Exercise Class
Chair-based exercise classes are designed to help improve strength and balance, especially aiding the muscles used in everyday activity. The exercises are performed from the comfort of a chair and each exercise is performed at a pace that suits the individual. As from January 8th, and in association with Sheen Lane Health Centre, FiSH will be running a weekly exercise class at 3:00pm at Sheen Lane Health Centre.
The facilitator will be Victoria Hutton and each session will last 45 minutes, followed by tea and biscuits. Participants do not need to book but will be asked to register on arrival and to give a donation of £4 per session to help cover costs.
For further details please call 020 8876 3336.
MeetUpMondays have come to East Sheen
For several years, ‘Combating Loneliness’ has been one of FiSH’s straplines. Getting people together, making friends, keeping active and bringing the neighbourhood together has been at the heart of all we do. So we were very excited to learn about an initiative called MeetUpMondays.
MeetUpMondaysTM initially began in Wimbledon, took off in Suffolk and is now spreading across the country. It’s a great way to start the week, a chance for neighbours to get together in a community space, have a FREE cup of tea or coffee, a few nibbles and some good conversation whilst making new friends.
FiSH is partnering with The Hare and Hounds pub, who will be hosting MeetUpMondaysTM in East Sheen from Monday September 9th, 11:00-13:00 each week. We are also grateful to Sceon + Berne who have kindly agreed to sponsor this activity for six months.
Do you live alone? Are you a Carer? Unemployed? Recently retired? Do you work from home? Widowed? Has life suddenly gone pear shaped for you? Do you just like meeting people and having a chat? If so, come and join us at The Hare and Hounds on Monday mornings. Everyone welcome!
New face at FiSH - Clare Smith
We are delighted to welcome Clare who will be joining us for the first few months of 2020 on a charity secondment courtesy of the John Lewis Partnership’s Golden Jubilee Trust. Clare, who is Team Manager at Waitrose in East Sheen, will be released by Waitrose who will pay her salary in full while releasing her to work for FiSH for 2.5 days a week. Clare is already a familiar face to many FiSH members. Waitrose has been very supportive of FiSH events such as Open Gardens and the Retro Café, supporting us with both donations in-kind and with releasing staff to volunteer for us. Clare will be working for FiSH in an engagement role – championing our activities in SW14, developing participation at our regular events as well as recruiting new members and volunteers in the area. We are extremely grateful to Waitrose for this wonderful opportunity to bring in an experienced manager who is so enthusiastic about our work. Thank you!
“I am really looking forward to the opportunity to work alongside FiSH next year" commented Clare. "I am hoping to share my skills and pick up new ones. I have supported FiSH for the past 3 years through Waitrose and have been inspired with the great work you do in the community which I have enjoyed being part of."
Picassos in the Park Exhibition
The members of our Picassos in the Park group recently visited the London Wetland Centre and the art they produced after that visit are currently exhibited at the Wetlands. Well worth a visit!
Picassos in the Park, supported by FiSH, run weekly art workshops for people living with early dementia.