Helping people create a Book of You

10 July 2020

Cheshire West and Chester Council company Vivo Care Choices has given a grant to Opal Services through its Community Fund to help people tell their fascinating life stories.

Opal launched new branding a couple of months back and was recently given the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

Through a Book of You project, older people in rural areas who access Opal's services will be able to create their life stories by using words, pictures, music and film. They can bring family, friends, carers and anybody else who has had an impact on their life together in one place.

Jean Toyn, Organiser at Opal Services, said: "16 of us are trained up to help people with the Book of You project. It's a mixture of club volunteers, staff members and go online volunteers.

"We're starting to work with our members so we can create a Book of You for each club, recording their memories of living in the area and their past lives.

"We've asked our volunteer befrienders to record memories and stories our members have about their Opal club, focusing on the Kelsall, Tarporley and Frodsham areas so we can start putting the books together.

"We've also started putting together a generic one for Opal to show our journey. We've focused on our members' Victory in Europe (VE) Day memories, as well as our shared experiences during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and how it's affected us all.

"If they wish, everyone can have their own Book of You and we'll help them put it together. We're also looking to help carers and the person they care for put some books together about their lives.

"Everyone is really enthusiastic about the project. Some of our volunteers and members are getting to grips with the books, but it'll be really nice to see the end results and how much pleasure people get out of them."

Alistair Jeffs, Vivo Managing Director, added: "We're delighted to be supporting Opal and its Book of You project.

"We can't wait to see all the different creations once they're finished. I'm sure there'll be plenty of inspiring stories about what people have done during their lifetime.

"We're also looking at introducing the project to our services at Vivo so the people we support can tell their own stories."

The Community Fund is worth £20,000 in total and has been split into two rounds of applications, with around £12,000 handed out so far and a second round of applications planned for September 2021. Full details for the second round of applications in September will be available in the coming months.

For more information about Vivo and its range of different services, visit: vivocarechoices.co.uk.

Opal volunteer helping create a Book of You
An Opal volunteer helping create a Book of You.

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