‘Charlotte loves to get involved in the Zoom sessions, they really grab her attention with the Makaton signs and they are a lot of fun! Charlotte’s even met new friends through the sessions! The newsletter is always informative and easy to read. Thank goodness for Grange Farm on a Thursday! It has enabled Charlotte to get out and about in the community and actually see people in the flesh and not just on a Screen, Thank you Sally and all the volunteer support team!’
From a parent of Ace Activities attendee

Just to say how much we and our friends enjoyed the Beatles evening.  The singer and the band were excellent.  We really enjoyed ourselves and Sally and others had clearly done an enormous amount of work to pull this off. We hope that it was a good fundraiser and what a great showcase for VAEF!

I hope you all enjoyed your afternoon, I feel sure that your guests had a lovely time and were very impressed with what you had achieved. I hope you all feel very proud.

I also wanted to thank Mrs Panrucker and the staff from VAEF for their help and support ensuring your event was such a success.

On behalf of all the staff, volunteers, children and families at Haven House, many thanks again for your support.

Best wishes, Ginny Donnelly, Community Fundraising Executive, Haven House Children’s Hospice


A big thank you to you and your team for the amazing work that you have done for the Ace Activity groups through this lockdown. It has been a real challenge for xxx throughout and with the weekly newsletter packed with information and work sheets it has really helped to keep him occupied. The zoom sessions have enabled them all to stay in touch with each other and interact. It certainly has helped with xxx’s mental health knowing that 3 times a week he is going to be part of the group again. And lastly your phone calls, always cheerful and positive, they always bring a smile to his face. Your huge effort with all of the groups has made it much easier for us who care for them knowing that there is plenty arranged each week for them to look forward to. You are also always there for a chat should I be having any difficulties and need some advice. Thanks again Sally, all your hard work is so appreciated and I know that I speak for all of the other parents and carers who are involved in your groups.

Hi Julie, just wanted to say thank you so much to you, Trevor and everybody else who has helped me.  I don’t know what I would have done without you.  I appreciate it so much.   Take care of yourselves and hopefully our paths will cross again in the future.

Hi Julie, So many times I hear you thanking people for this and that and I wondered whether you do realise we owe you a big thank you for all you do for us and the club.  Organising us to have lovely outings etc.  So it occurred to me that you deserve a thank you.  On behalf of all us members, thank you.  M


  • (Message sent to Julie from a volunteer) Yesterday was brilliant! You truly are the most amazing, caring, genuine woman I know! I have worked for over 40 years and never met a woman so inspirational. I love working for your project! You make everyone feel so good and part of something so very special. It is a gift. And you are a star.
  • I am pleased to support your good work. It was a nice afternoon. So well organized. You don’t stop!
  • Thank you all for making my life so much brighter since joining the club at Waltham Abbey.
  • Thank you all for making my life so much brighter since joining your club.
  • Dear Julie and all your very special team!! I feel privileged to have been accepted by you all. Julie, this comes from you, our boss and super caring leader. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
  • Dear Julie and all your special team. Thank you all so much. The warmth and kindness each of you give me is so good.
  • Thank you for all that do you for us on a Friday.
  • Thank you for making Fridays special.
  • Thank you for all that you do for Mum.
  • To Julie and helpers – thank you for your care.
  • Thanks a million for all your hard work. You are a real star.
  • Thanks for every single thing you give us.
  • Thank you for bringing us so much joy at the club.
  • Thank you everyone for looking after us.
  • Thank you so much for everything.

Since we lost my dad 3 years ago life has not been the same for my mum. At 80 years old her health is not so great, so her usual walks up to Epping town became few and far between. My step nan attends this group and I encouraged mum to do so also. She was not keen at first and kept making excuses. She finally gave in and signed up. Mum has never looked back and looks forward to Tuesdays so much now. She said recently ‘this group of people are so wonderful and this is the best thing I have ever done’. Thank you so much for playing such a big part in giving mum some life back xx

  • Thank you for all you do. It’s the best thing I have done joining you all.
  • Thanks for the help and work you do to entertain us youngsters – ha ha – through the year.
  • I’d like to thank you all for helping to make Tuesday afternoons a friendly and enjoyable time for us all.


I’ve heard that the Friendship Club at Jubilee Court is coming to the end of its funding?

This Club is a lifeline to my 85 year old Mother. Her only regular outing, where she can met others and socialise. We have noticed how much happier she is now and has a purpose every Friday. She’s now been attending over two years. We have all noticed the difference it’s made to her.

If it should end she would have absolutely nothing socially other than family.

It’s somewhere for her to not only met others but participate in activities that helps her dementia possibly as much as medication does. She plays bingo, dances, joins in raffles and goes on all the wonderful trips they organise. She comes home full of stories of where they have been and what they have seen

It also means my father her main carer gets a few hours respite from the day to day stress, which dementia causes.

I’m hoping this may continue long term as with its friendly helpful staff, mum has felt like part of a family.


Dear Julie, I do want to sincerely thank you and your team for looking after Mum so well, I have lost count of the years she has been enjoying the weekly sessions; singing, dancing, raffles, and all the entertainments that you do so well. Long may you continue to provide this excellent and essential service for so many elderly people in this area…….I may need it myself one day!


Dear Jacqui

Sometimes we do forget how lovely it is to work in partnership with both our organisations.

I just wanted to formally record how invaluable Jina is to me, and Martine, with regard to her knowledge, response to referrals, in particular with regard to benefits/attendance allowance.

I was having a conversation with Jenny from Citizens Advice Bureau last week at the Peabody Networking meeting and we were both singing her praises. In fact, Jenny said she didn’t know where they would be without Jina’s support with regard to all benefit forms and being able to see vulnerable older people in their own home. so I thought I would capture that and pass it on.

Whilst writing, I should also point out how lost I would be without Julie’s clubs. Most older people either want a face to face visit, which we now have in Essex Befriends, which is great but, for those wanting to go out, Julie is wonderful with older people and my client’s always say how much they love her, her volunteers, her clubs and the invaluable service of transport!

For me, it is a two way street as we do work so well and close with each other.

Thank you VAEF. We are sure lucky to have you in Epping Forest.

Many thanks for all your help. K has been given Higher Rate Attendance Allowance. You are so very kind and helpful



Dear Jacqui

Sometimes we do forget how lovely it is to work in partnership with both our organisations.

I just wanted to formally record how invaluable Jina is to me, and Martine, with regard to her knowledge, response to referrals, in particular with regard to benefits/attendance allowance.

I was having a conversation with Jenny from Citizens Advice Bureau last week at the Peabody Networking meeting and we were both singing her praises. In fact, Jenny said she didn’t know where they would be without Jina’s support with regard to all benefit forms and being able to see vulnerable older people in their own home. so I thought I would capture that and pass it on.

Whilst writing, I should also point out how lost I would be without Julie’s clubs. Most older people either want a face to face visit, which we now have in Essex Befriends, which is great but, for those wanting to go out, Julie is wonderful with older people and my client’s always say how much they love her, her volunteers, her clubs and the invaluable service of transport!

For me, it is a two way street as we do work so well and close with each other.

Thank you VAEF. We are sure lucky to have you in Epping Forest.



I should very much like to thank you and one of your volunteers for the help given to Mrs H.  I received a call last week from a lady in Twickenham, she was an old friend of Mrs H and she was very concerned about her . I went round to visit her the next day . I discovered Maureen, one of your volunteers, had visited Mrs H at home and applied for attendance allowance for her. She must have done a very good job as Mrs H got the higher rate. I spent several hours in August applying for it for my father so I am only too aware of the thirty five pages required!
 Maureen also wrote to Mrs H with some contacts for cleaning services. Thank you!

30 children within our trust schools and beyond will be receiving gifts, because of your generosity.   The families have expressed their thanks and gratitude.  I know what a great help this will be to them. Everyone of the families has been identified by myself or one of our schools. We know that they will benefit greatly from the donations.

So to everyone that donated, purchased, wrapped and delivered a very big thank you from myself and Epping Forest Schools Partnership Trust .


It is because of you and the team you have that so many of our Epping Forest Schools Partnership Trust families will have a little less worry because of the work you do to support and help them. I know that the donations they receive make a big difference and we are hugely grateful to everyone involved.

With very grateful thanks from all our schools.



At a time when people are often quick to criticise and slow to praise, I would like to place on record the Parish Council’s sincere thanks for everything that Chris did on Monday for ‘Theydon’s Living Room’. We had a good turnout (just short of 40 people) and I only heard high praise for all the agencies that attended. It was good to see people coming together and hopefully those attending also benefitted from the range of advice and information that was on offer, promoting well-being, ways to reduce household bills and how to stay safe in the home. Thanks again to Voluntary Action Epping Forest for their professional and friendly help for the people of Theydon Bois.

“Service is always fantastic, Thank you”

“This department have been very helpful to me, amazing staff who go out to help and put a smile on my face.  Very happy with the service I am getting from this department.  They are doing amazing job helping us with needs”

“Rosy attended to me and honestly I was so impressed by her kindness and willingness to help.  She patiently answered all my questions.  Generally my expectation was exceeded”

“Thank you Rosy for being so wonderful”

“Rosie attended to me calmly, she was apt and well detailed.   I like her patience and willingness to explain further anywhere I didn’t understand”

“Very easy to work with and was able to assist with all my needs!  Would find it very useful to recommend services.  Thank you! Very Happy”

“Rosie, was incredibly helpful and kind. A phenomenal help to me and my mother. A marvellous person and stellar at her job.”

“Bless you Rose, I told you that you were an angel in my life”

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for your help and support with me and xx today. I am really grateful for your kind support though all of the time I have been seeing you, bless you Rose “

“To Dearest Rose, Thank you so much for all your kindness and support during my difficult situation.  I would also like to tell you that I have found permanent work, full time, as a receptionist.  Thank you so much because without your kindness I may not have had the strength.  Kind Regards… Thank you.”

“I would like to bring to your attention and recognise Mark Dalton who I have met through conversations I have had with him in trying to sort some of the possessions of my mother’s house.

My mother had three appliances to donate to Epping Forest ReUse of which was an oven, fridge and washing machine of which had to be disconnected. Mark did this and I was completely happy with the results.  On checking the fridge Mark noticed some items were still in there and suggested he would dispose of them.  I was very grateful for his suggestion.  I personally live some way from the house and Mark’s suggestion was extremely helpful.  I asked  Mark if he could take metre readings for me as he had now disconnected the fridge and he was more than happy to do this. Mark has shown me empathy and a lot of help and understanding in my situation, so for this reason I would  like to recognise him. I am very grateful for all the help that Voluntary Action Epping Forest has given me.”


“Just wanted to thank you very much for all of your hard work for Mom and me over the year on her home, it has been very much appreciated by me. The last job in particular, the partially fitted draft excluder has already made a huge difference to her hallway.”

“Thank you Mark, for everything you have done.  Expert skills, professional, very kind and extremely patient!!. I think in life making a ‘difference’ is an achievement, and that is what you have done.”


“Thank you for organising such an informative course, it gave us all a useful insight into an increasingly important area of health care.  Thanks too for providing the refreshments – much appreciated.”


“We currently have 4 bids that we are awaiting the outcome. Lottery, Essex Community Foundation, Sainsbury and Tesco. We could not have achieved this if it were not for the guidance and support of VAEF. They guided us through the procedures allowing us to move forward with our vision. they encouraged when we felt downhearted with bids that did not come to fruition. The team at VAEF were always positive and one did not feel inadequate with some of the questions that we asked having not prepared bids before. This team do an invaluable service to those of us that enter into this field of trying to raise money for much needed causes.”

“Just wanted to say thank you for making us aware of the training available. I attended and it was great!”

(Re Winter Warmth) “Thank you Debbie.  I had a Headteacher meeting on Friday and it was good to share how supportive you have been whenever we need something for a family.”

“Many thanks to you all for the continuing information you send and all that you’re doing in the area. It is very much appreciated.”

“Thank you for preparing and  sending out this newsletter Nina, I always find it very helpful and appreciate you and the teams work.”

Dear Jacqui

Thank you giving up so much of your time on Friday.  Lucy and I very much enjoyed the various visits and were impressed by the range of activities making a real difference to the community. Something I have come to learn over the last year is just how fruitful and beneficial that combination of expert staff and enthusiastic volunteers can be, enriching the lives of all concerned and not just those on the receiving end; and VAEF seems to be a brilliant example of that. You also seem to be very lucky in your trustees (I had a nice email from Sally afterwards).

I’m very glad to have caught up with you, albeit rather late in my year, and I hope we’ll meet again at Hylands House on 4 March.  I’m sure you know that ECF have a very high opinion of VAEF and all that you’ve achieved over the years!

Best wishes Dr James Bettley jp dl fsa · High Sheriff of Essex 2019–2020



I found that very interesting to see the breadth of your work.  Inspiring!  You and your colleagues must be very proud of all that you do for your community.

  • Organisation in Epping Forest
    Your help (Epping Forest Volunteer Centre) with getting the program up and running was invaluable, and the training (on Volunteer Management)  was helpful too, but it has its own legs now and we shouldn’t need to be recruiting anymore (volunteers)  as we have a waiting list.
  • I have had my training today with Barnardo’s in Harlow.  Thank you for your help (volunteer placed by Maggie Gilchrist in 3 volunteering placements)
  • Dear Maggie – a very big thank you for all have done for me. You have gone beyond the “white line”. You have got me three volunteering jobs and guided me through the good and bad times. Not many people like you around!
  • Dear Maggie, It was good to be part of VAEF. I enjoyed the experience and was pleased to be able to help out. In the main I collected and delivered prescriptions and I was able to walk to most of the addresses which was an extra bonus as a daily walk was such a big part of our lockdown experience. Happy to help out again if necessary.

  • I just wanted to email and let you know what a pleasure it has been working with VAEF volunteers for our Warm Welcome, they have all been really lovely, very helpful and great to get to know. We would have struggled to have provided as many Warm Welcome hours without them. Thank you for partnering with us in this venture.


What has been the best part of your volunteering experience at the Vaccination Centers?

  • Knowing that you are helping others in this pandemic. Making it easier for people to access the centre with clear, friendly directions. All have been really appreciative of the support as have the medical staff.
  • Being part of the community and contributing to society.
  • Just loved being able to help with the programme and seeing everyone come out happy and glad to be vaccinated. Everyone has been so kind and appreciative of the volunteers
  • All of it. The staff doing jabs, the people receiving their jabs and overwhelming feeling that we just might be getting somewhere.
  • Seeing the entire team work so hard to vaccinate everyone! Very dedicated and inspiring!
  • Generally a good team to work with. Making a useful contribution to the community by helping deliver the vaccination programme
  • Meeting people
  • helping with a nationwide initiative
  • A chance to contribute and some structure to the week. A chance to support people at a vulnerable time.
  • Meeting patients and being able to reassure the nervous ones and marvelling at the way the team of doctors nurses, pharmacists and practice managers are working to hard to vaccinate people. It is very humbling and amazing to see it working so well
  • Supporting both the patients and the medical practitioners
  • Seeing lots of happy faces, talking to people, feeling I’m contributing to something important, getting to know other volunteers
  • being able to assure visitors that the experience is safe and being able to make them feel comfortable in what is an anxious time for many of them
  • A sense of helping the community and engaging with local people
  • An opportunity to ‘make a difference’ and contribute to a key activity to enable the community to overcome the C19 crisis.
  • I loved being on the exit door to let people out. I loved how wonderful and grateful people were and how all said they thought the running of Spencer’s close was so well organised and so friendly and clean. I love meeting people and it felt good to help others or just make them smile.
  • Sense of purpose in being part of this historical vaccination programme meeting and greeting the public who were extremely appreciative (on most occasions) of our volunteering services
  • It is great to be able to help assist the medical staff with the vaccine roll out and feels a very worthwhile cause and good to be involved in. Great talking to people, easing any anxieties they may have and just meeting people in general
  • I’ve learnt that my next job will be helping others. I no longer want to go back into the city but do something worthwhile and satisfying. I think I knew this when I was made redundant back in November but volunteering confirmed this. I’m very grateful for this opportunity.


  • A little while ago I referred a friend to out service to Ayesha. Yesterday my friend sent me a message saying, that Ayesha is helping her with volunteering ideas and helping her to access support for her mental health. She also said that she had a lovely chat with her and she now feels better for seeing her.
  • I just spoke to Hazel she said she very much enjoyed your company and would like to go out again

Thank you so much for the brilliant microwave.  It has given me a better quality of life.  You are all fantastic.  Kindest wishes.



I am a Health Family Support Practitioner working for the ECFWS. I have accessed support from VAEF via Jina Symes since I entered into role 5 years ago. VAEF have always been accommodating and offering much needed support for families in a professional and empathetic manner.

Without VAEF support many families over the years, families would have struggled at times of need.  To be able to offer food or gas/electric or items for families, presents at Christmas, shows we do care, we do understand hard times and its ok. As a professional I find referrals are clear and without judgement.  I feel VAEF have a good understanding of the local community and understanding of family’s needs. I am grateful for the support provided by VAEF.    


I would like to state my thanks and gratitude for the service provided by yourself and the organisation who funds the food boxes on behalf of Norway House and our residents.  We regularly have residents who arrive at Norway house with absolutely nothing. They are distressed and frightened and may not have any money. To be able to provide them with a food box makes such a positive first impression. Single mothers who arrive with children are so relieved that they do not have to worry immediately as to how they are going to feed their children. This reduces stress and anxiety when needed most. This is never more important due to the difficult time we are living through at the moment. It would be fantastic if further funding could be secured in the future to continue this valuable service. Thank you once again.

Derek Frost and all the management team at Norway House.

“Hi all a very big thank you to all those involved in the collection of my medicine whilst my husband and I are both isolating due to positive COVID tests. Amazing all sorted within an hour.”


“I just wanted to express my grateful thanks to your team and in particular to the lady who delivered our medication yesterday – for myself and my husband.

I had arranged for the medication to be delivered to Theydon Bois Pharmacy and was going to ask a neighbour to pick it up. My neighbours have already been so helpful with shopping and support. It was a lovely surprise when the doorbell rang and our medication was delivered ‘out of the blue’. It’s one thing less that I have to ask my neighbours to help with. Thank you All for the support you are giving to people across the District.  It is very much appreciated.”

“I cried, I couldn’t believe that someone would do that for me – It was like a Christmas hamper – Thank you all so much – I will clap doubly hard tonight for all you wonderful kind people ”

“I am so very grateful to you, to Andrew, and to Trevor for the help you gave to me and to my husband. It is because of you that we have stayed safe, and we are extremely grateful to you for your care and concern.”

“They’ve just delivered this lovely box of fruit and veg, absolutely beautiful. I really do appreciate it. Many thanks to you and to Ongar Dairy for all your help and support.”

“Parsonage Court 33 residents received something, all were very grateful. It is not about what they are being given which is much appreciated but the fact that they are being thought about in these difficult times. What comes across to me is that the elderly think they are forgotten about and the fact that VAEF is keeping them in mind goes a long way. ”

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for your help at a time when I needed it most. My husband’s death came as a huge shock to me – sadly he died from COVID 19, and as you know I have no immediate family apart from my sister who herself is unwell. Your kindness and understanding meant so much, having you there to help organise the funeral car and flowers took so much anxiety away from me – I can’t thank you enough. I would also like to say a big thank you to your wonderful volunteer who phones me regularly each week to check that I am ok, she has been amazing too – what would I have done without you all !!!”

“I don’t know how to thank you and your wonderful organisation for everything you have done for me. I really didn’t know where to turn for support as every phone number I was given I got the same answer – “We can’t help you, you’ll need to phone this number etc;” this went on for nearly a week, I truly felt like giving up, my food was so low I just didn’t know how I was going to get through this awful situation until I came across VAEF’s details. After speaking with you, I felt like all my prayers had been answered, I couldn’t believe it when you said you were able to help me, and even though it was Bank Holiday Monday you managed to get someone to go and do some shopping for me – You are all Angels and I truly feel blessed for all the help and support you have given me – Thank you. I would also like to say thank you for the most wonderful box of fresh fruit/veg that I received from Ongar Dairy Foods.”

“Thank you so much, the service I have received has been absolutely brilliant – you are all wonderful putting your lives at risk to save ours!!!!”

“I have found myself as many thousands in a situation no one could ever of imagined. Coronovirus lock down. Wow what shall we do,panic,stress, get upset. How do  I get my vital medication ? Ive been told i must stay in for 12 weeks as I am high risk due to underlying health issues…
With no one here with me to assist in anything I May need . I had no idea what I was going to do. Now, shall I go out ? No Lesley, you have to stay home, only go out for your appointments I find I’m telling myself. To my absolute joy I received a telephone call advising that I could possibly get some assistance.  I could of jumped for joy. I was told I could possibly get some help from Voluntary Action Epping.  After speaking with Yourself Julie, you kindly said that I could have assistance and my medication would be collected and delivered to me. I cannot tell you how much you eased my mind.
Today Trevor has been to deliver my medication, to which I am extremely grateful. Please convey my thanks to Trevor, he really has saved my life…
Voluntary Action Epping has been absolutely amazing during this time in life that many of us are struggling due to isolation.. delivering items to myself and many others, arranging deliveries to our homes as we cannot go out at this awful time. I have stayed in my home and found myself wondering what shall I now do with all this time I have.  I have been making masks for many nurses that have put out appeals via social media. I am trying to put back something for all that is being done for us.  Having some protection is better than not having any. Today I have started some more masks and I am pleased to say these are coming to Voluntary Action Epping. This truly is the least I can do for all that you have so very kindly done for myself…  You truly are all such a blessing to us that are in isolation. Thank you so very much for all you have done for me, I will never forget your kindness at this very unprecedented time we all find ourselves in .”

“We would like to thank you for your outstanding services you are providing us during the recent months of the lockdown for Corona (COVID-19). Recently, I felt very sorry for your team, Not only, they went several times to the  pharmacy to bring my medications, But also to bring our regular groceries. Your team ,were always on time and friendly with us you never let us down. Your help is much appreciated. To day we found a garden from Heavens on the steps of our front porch. I am speechless and can’t find the words to explain me. ”

“You have all been extremely busy and, dare I say, innovative at VAEF and across the District and I was so impressed by what has been going on-brilliant community spirit to the fore as a response to the crisis. Our sincere congratulations to all. I will certainly share the helpful link with the team who I know will be very interested in the update.”  Andrew Clarke, Essex Community Foundation

“Fantastic read , I was aware of much of it but not all of it. Such a tonic , thanks for sharing.”  Cllr Stephen Murray

“Just wanted to send you a massive thank from the family that you helped last week.  Mum was overwhelmed with what she received and is VERY grateful to everyone for organising this.  Mum and her children were able to eat and she made quite a few things with the contents of the box. Thank you to you and your team for the support and Barnardo’s are very grateful for the partnership working that we have been able to do.”  Child Health & Well Being Services

“Once again, thank you for all the great work that you and your team are doing to support our local residents, we are so grateful for this 😊” Epping Forest District Council

“Would just like to add that the client spoke very highly of the support she received yesterday – she describes it was a life saver.” Social Prescribing Link Worker 

“I just want to say a big thank you to the VAEF Team. As a local resident myself it is heart-warming to know we have charities and volunteers like yourselves who are supporting the people most vulnerable in this time of need and uncertainty.”  Epping Forest District Council

“Dear team at VAEF,
Yesterday I received a delivery from yourselves and although my neighbour had arranged this for me, I had no idea what to expect and it far exceeded anything I thought we might get!
Wow I am so truly grateful for every single item you gave us! Thank you so so much this has made a big difference to our eating and with it being just me & my teenage son, it will go a long way!
I haven’t been able to eat for 12 days as I have been hit hard with Covid but the timing of this delivery was perfect as from it I had my first bit of food in so long and I enjoyed very much a humble jacket potato. This food being all so fresh will encourage me to try more and more slowly and help to get me on the road of recovery.
So once again I send my gratitude and thanks to everyone that has made this possible”

“Thank you so much for your help.  My prescriptions have been delivered by Trevor so quickly.  Nick called and said  Trevor will be picking up the prescriptions for me.  Please thank them both for their help.  It is really appreciated.”

“I had a very pleasant chat with  Jina Symes earlier this week.  This lovely, patient ,charming lady arranged for my wife and I to receive a delivery of food supplies.  I am writing to thank her and everyone involved in this most kind and generous gift.  The veg and fruit was fresh and pristine in appearance,  the food was wonderful.. There was fruit we had not had for a long, long time and the veg was magnificent and tasted like we remember from our youth  — more than 60 years ago — unlike supermarket  forced  mass produce. We were amazed at the food which included — for us anyway — several treats.  It made our week.  We were excited,  awestruck and delighted and i confess that more than a few tears of pure joy were shed by both of us at the kindness and generosity of you all.  May your Gods bless and keep you safe and well, I cannot thank you enough for bringing a lot of sunshine into our lives. 
Eternal thanks, love ‘n’ virtual hugs to you and yours from Joan and me, this act of compassion will live forever in our hearts,.  Thank you and your colleagues for all you are doing selflessly in these dark days.  I wonder if you realise how much happiness you really are giving old fogies like us? !!! ”
A lovely message of thanks was received last week from Mr & Mrs D, “Thank you to Voluntary Action Epping Forest for the wonderful surprise hamper that we received today. We have been unable to get out for various health reasons and lockdowns, so this has been a much appreciated and welcome gift.”
Dear Julie,
I wanted to formally express our gratitude and appreciation of everything done by VAEF before, during and after lockdown. In particular, Kelly has contacted us twice a week without fail, checking that we are okay and offering any support required. This is all so much appreciated by everyone I’m sure.
Many thanks and kind regards,
Cathy & Billy

 “I was feeling very low, anxious and lost all my confidence. The support I received from the Programme gave me some breathing space and helped me to fix myself. After I started my volunteering with the Rainbow Services gradually I regained my confidence. Volunteering is very rewarding and it also gave me a variety of opportunities: to engage with seniors, make teas/coffee for them, play games and get involved with events. Volunteering was a good stepping stone for me to get full, get my confidence back and be successful in getting a full time paid job which I am starting in March.”

 “The programme is definitely working and the support I get from Marina is amazing.” “She is always at the end of the phone, always ready to meet me and my wife, very patient and guiding me in the right direction. I would never have started this volunteering without the support the project has given me – I never thought I could do something like this”

 “You gave me everything I need to get out of the house and start my recovery journey. Thank you for your availability, patience, guidance. It’s so easy to get back into the same state where I was before but your connection, regular phone calls keep me going. Good to know that there are opportunities for me, you also gave me a choice. I would not attend the training without you reminding me on the day and also completing it with me. Having someone I know by my side helped me to be confident at the training, introduce myself and be brave to tell others about my mental health, to engage with other people.”

“I didn’t know about so many volunteering opportunities for me just around the corner. Having someone to visit the places with me, introduce me to people, makes a huge difference for me. I am looking forward to start my volunteering this week and, to be fair, I don’t think I will need the counselling sessions.”

Mrs D phoned to say what a lovely job the gardeners had done.  She cannot thank them enough.

It was lovely to meet Carole today and was very pleased with all she had done for me.  Look forward to her return.

Mrs M commented – a thoroughly competent gardener, excellent work and a very helpful person.  I need her again!

Very pleased with the work done by Carole, it was very overgrown!  Thank you, H

Ms C phoned to say how helpful Aubrey and Ricky were and what a good job they did

I just wanted to feed back though on my recent morning volunteering with Aubrey on some gardens in Waltham Abbey.  I really enjoyed helping as I love gardening, hard work but so rewarding to see the difference in the gardens and how much the elderly folk appreciated our help.  My help was just one morning and I know that some of you are out week on week showing such commitment whether in a paid or unpaid capacity.  So, I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you for all you do with this much needed and valuable project.  It really does showcase what a massive difference VAEF makes to the lives of those who have a bit of a struggle and how this helps with their well-being.  Sally Crone, Trustee

Mrs D said what a good job Julie Graham did on her garden when she went last.

Mrs H from Epping said what a really good job you had done the last time you visited and thank you

“I would just like to pass on some compliments that I have been told by several residents who have had the handy man service, done by Chris.

  • The residents in Hyde Mead House are overjoyed that their dart board is now up and was done very quickly.
  • A new resident in Parsonage Court who moved in a few months ago, told me today that now her pictures are up the wall she feels like it is a home, whereas before it was just a room, she is so happy and said it may be a small thing to others but by Chris putting these up has made such a difference and she said his professionalism and kindness made her feel at ease.
  • Also the two gentleman in Leonard Davis house are very happy with the work that was done at their properties.
  • The jobs are getting done so quickly , which has really helped with the new residents that are moving in.

I just wanted to pass on the compliments as people are so quick to complain but slow in compliments, so its nice to here and get some positive feedback.”



Chris has done an excellent job at repainting my balcony railings and repairing my curtain hook and desk drawer knob

I am most grateful


Dear Sirs

Since I qualified to receive help from Mr. Chris Bullock as Handyman for Repairs of Epping Council I have on many occasions been grateful for yourselves for providing this service and for Mr. Bullock as the person he is.

He is a credit to your organisation as someone who is trustworthy and so helpful in sorting out repair problems which have occurred from time to time. Thank you for your service.


Dear Sir/Madam

I had occasion to have Chris Bullock at my flat last week making a small unit to take my TV accessories and tidy all the wires and I don’t want the occasion to go by without thanking the organisation in general and Chris in particular. He is the most courteous of gentlemen, efficient and helpful and all done with a smile, what better representation could you have to advertise your organisation. A big thank you to you and Chris. How lucky elderly are to have this service.

Dear Sir/Madam

I would like to specially thank your handyman Chris for all the excellent work he has afforded me, first when I moved from my property and secondly when I moved to my new property. Nothing was too much trouble and I genuinely feel I could not have coped without his kind patience and assistance. It is a wonderful service too and I cannot therefore thank him and yourselves enough for making my life so much easier.

“Mark arrived on time, greeted both me and Mum by name and told me exactly what he was going to do as he had previously told my sister. I basically left him to it and 45 minutes later, job done. He showed Mum what he had done, she was happy and he then did the paperwork, we paid and off he went. Good reliable man and I would be happy to use him again.”


I have had my property since May 3 2021 and was unable to move into the properly due to unforeseen structural issues that were quite big. Chris came early on to put up some curtains, so he saw the state of my property and mental health maybe. After losing two jobs in tourism and my home it’s been a long journey. I’ve finally moved into my flat properly now and Chris has helped with some fixings so he was able to view the transition.I want to say that during my difficult period it’s always reassuring to meet people that come into your space that are respectful, professional and kind. Chris is all those things.Having worked for ECC and several charities prior, it’s good to feedback so people know they are valued.


“I’m very grateful I have this service and for Chris who is very kind, polite and professional and very clean and tidy and just gets on with his tasks. He also does everything requested to perfection and never any issues.”


“Hello all at VAEF, I just wanted to pass on my appreciation for your wonderful service and a special mention to Chris and Ewan who came to my aid yesterday to fix my fence and shed that had been damaged in the storm just over a week ago. They both continually worked so hard in really awful weather conditions and have done a fantastic job. I am so grateful that this service exists to help people like myself, we’ll done to all concerned but especially Chris and Ewan.Many thanks”


“Chris was helpful and polite, he did a fantastic job, and his communications through the job was great for me”


“I would like to compliment your Organisation Voluntary Action Epping Forest for providing this service to people like myself who has so needed the Professional help I have been given since I have moved to Loughton in April ‘22. I met a very polite and understanding Gentleman named Chris Bullock who was punctual when he turned up at my flat to complete a job for me as I could not find a solution but he did. He efficiently completed the job in hand was very thorough, skilled and tidied up before he left!  I feel fortunate to have access to this very valuable service and now have Peace of mind to know you are only a phone call away and knowing that the Service is a Safe one that VAEF provides from the likes of such a polite & understanding worker namely Mr. Chris Bullock. May long your Service continue. Thank you so very much”

Dear Jacqui and Maggie, well done for such brilliant figures for the Hemnall Street session.  Next quarter will show more on Loughton and beginnings of the Museum sessions.  It has been lovely to meet your volunteer Nicky, in your absence Maggie, who is amazing.  Please extend our thanks to your fantastic team of volunteers.


Dear Maggie and Nicola – Just a few words of thanks for all your kind encouragement and positive guidance throughout the course.  Also thank you very much for the bonus gift.  I sincerely appreciate all your support and help!