News and Events

Changing times at BSG

Part 1

The trustees, friends and volunteers were sad to bid farewell to our Co-ordinator, Barbara Starkiss at the end of 2017 when she elected to take early retirement.

Barbara came to us in October 2003 – some 14 years ago, (and 2 months as she pointed out), having previously been Chief Officer of Age Concern, Tiverton and District for some 10½ years.

She was also a trustee of Action East Devon for 13 years, and Chair of that organisation from April 2015 to October 2016.

She brought with her a wealth of experience in the voluntary sector, together with an enviable contacts list, and her experience and dedication were quickly recognised by all who worked with her.

Her forthright manner, and often direct approach led her to be respected as a strong voluntary activist by those statutory bodies with whom she negotiated on our behalf.

Above all, Barbara was held in high esteem by the members of the Blackdowns Practice, with whom we work closely; she was responsible in no small measure for developing this relationship to its present day status where we are seen by many as the flagship and a model for others to aspire to.

Many of our clients will have experienced Barbara’s caring side and know how quickly she could put wheels into motion when the need arose.

At the start of 2018 Barbara is somewhere on the other side of the world, furthering her enjoyment of travel, and we send her love and best wishes for the future.

Vice-Chair, Heather Stallard presenting a commemorative plate to Barbara Starkiss

Barbara with her plate, recognition of the her 14 years with BSG

Barbara with Chair, Sarah Folland at Buckingham Palace in recognition of Barbara’s volunteer work.

Part 2

We are delighted to welcome Elizabeth McNabb, who has joined the team as our new
Co-ordinator.

BSG is very lucky to secure Elizabeth, who comes to us with an impressive background as a recruitment consultant and business manager. In addition, she has experience in voluntary work within the Blackdowns community, as well as working as a volunteer with neglected and abused children in La Paz, Bolivia!!

Mother of 3 young children, Elizabeth has lived in the Blackdowns for 3 years, and recently moved to Hemyock from Churchstanton.

Elizabeth is keen to ‘get out there’ and meet those involved with the BSG; be they friends, volunteers or clients, so you can look forward to meeting her soon. She is also keen to explore collaborative working with other groups with the Blackdown Hills.

We extend a very warm welcome to Elizabeth and wish her success for the future.

Our new co-ordinator, Elizabeth McNabb

The Support Group has a bric-a-brac stall at Churchinford market on the first Saturday of each month. If you are in the area pop along and take a look. If you have anything we may be able to sell to raise funds, either take it along to the market or drop it into the office at the Hemyock surgery. (Unfortunately we are unable to accept electrical items).

Cream Tea 2018

Friday 23rd February saw the annual BSG cream tea for friends and volunteers, this year held at Churchinford.  I’ve never quite understood why we have a cream tea in the depths of winter – unless of course it is simply to lift the spirits – but nevertheless if there is tea and cake on offer I’m there!

We had an amazing 70 plus people attend, which is testament to the quality of the savouries and cakes provided.  A huge thank you must go to everyone involved in making it such a lovely afternoon.  Our Chair, Sarah gave her thanks to everyone for their  continued help and support, and especially our volunteers for all their hard work.

Sarah also paid tribute to Alice Hodges who has been running the charity stall at the Churchinford market for 20 years.  During that time Alice committed herself to attending the market every month, and storing all of the stock in her office at home (or should that say she has her office in our storeroom?)  After such a long term Alice has decided that she really does need her office back and has reluctantly decided to hand over the reins to someone else.

At the moment the post is vacant so if you know of anyone who is able to (a) store our stock of bric-a-brac, and (b) run the stall once a month please let us know.  It might be an opportunity to operate a rota of volunteers, so that no one individual is over committed.  It would be a terrible shame to lose our presence after all these years, so if you feel you can help, please get in touch with the office.

Finally, our co-ordinator, Elizabeth, introduced herself (and Sophie) to everyone and made an appeal for people to ‘nominate a volunteer’. We have a limited number of £10 Marks and Spencer vouchers available and while stocks last one will go to each person who nominates a volunteer (providing the volunteer is successfully recruited of course!).

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