It’s a charity that provides a lifeline for hundreds of elderly and vulnerable people across the Mercury area.
And this week the Evergreen Care Trust is launching a volunteer drive and a campaign to recruit 2,000 “friends” who give regular donations and support the charity’s good work.
Evergreen, which was founded nine years ago by Louise Marsh, offers meals, support and friendship to residents of Stamford, Bourne and the surrounding villages. Clients can enjoy hot soup delivered to their home, social meals cooked with fresh ingredients, befriending, cleaning and a range of other support services.
But in order to continue with its valued work the charity itself needs help, both in terms of manpower and funding.
Mrs Marsh said: “We currently have about 230 active volunteers but the demand for our services is such that the work is growing. And some people have been volunteering for us for a long time.”
The charity, based on the Stamford Hospital site in Ryhall Road, hopes to recruit volunteers across all positions, but Mrs Marsh is looking in particular for three kinds of people. She needs service review officers, who can independently assess the work the charity does. She needs ambassadors, who can promote the charity’s work across the region. And she needs people who can help raise funds for the charity.
“Most people who come to us have a healthy regard for senior citizens and want to get involved with activities that support them,” said Mrs Marsh.
“They also want to engage with older people, because they are fun to be around.
“The job is always very rewarding. People give an hour a month up to almost full time. It’s really to suit you.”
Alongside the volunteer drive, the charity has also launched the Target 2,000 campaign to boost its Friends of Evergreen scheme.
Currently, about 200 people are signed up to give a monthly £1 donation. But in order to increase its regular income, the charity wants to increase that number to 2,000.
Mrs Marsh said: “It’s the regular income that helps us continue. It would be great if we could reach that target by our 10th birthday in May 2015.”
Those who work and volunteer for Evergreen know that having regular income alongside one-off donations gives added security to their clients. And the clients themselves are grateful for the services those donations allow.
The Mercury spoke to several diners at one of Evergreen’s lunches at the Hillary Close housing complex in Stamford.
Josephine Hayre, 79, of Drift Gardens, said: “It’s a beautiful organisation. When I came out of the hospital it was fantastic, because they used to come round with lunches. I live on my own and they really help me.
“I’m a vegetarian and they provide me with really tasty meals. It’s all fresh food. They are superb cooks and for £5 you can’t grumble.”
Joyce Beal, 84, of Masterton Close, originally began volunteering for Evergreen before she started using the services herself. She still puts in the occasional shift.
She said: “You get a lot of company. It’s good chatting to people and finding out about them. I would recommend it to anyone.”
And Elma Wright, 73, of Masterton Road, added: “It’s nice to come and have a meal and you meet a lot of friends as well. I’ve been coming quite a while and it’s nice to come and socialise.”
To find out more about volunteering for Evergreen or to become a friend and support the Target 2,000 campaign, visit the reception, call 01780 765900 or visit www.evergreencare.org.uk