Care at home

(By Wendy at Catto Homecare)

The question we are most asked, is how to broach the subject of a parent or loved one needing care. This is obviously going to be different for everyone depending on their own experiences of parents and grandparents who needed additional help. For some older adults, they reach a crisis point eg a fall or a urine infection where the hospital will only discharge with a care package in place. However, what do you do when nothing significant has happened? Where do you even begin? Have you been struggling for a long time with supporting your loved one and you are coming close to no longer being able to sustain the increase in their needs? Maybe you are physically not in the greatest of health yourself? I often use this example to compare with an elastic band. Some people can stretch to an extraordinary level but we can only flex the band to a certain level until it snaps.

At Catto Homecare we find the most successful method is to adapt your approach eg ‘it’s more for me me, so that I don’t worry during the day / evening’ or ‘you are fine but I am constantly worried about you’. Most people associate the word ‘care’ as wiping bottoms so mentioning ‘support’ rather than care will be more favourably received. If this angle is still not successful, you may find a more honest approach could work. The person may not be aware that your life could be on hold as you undertake an increasing amount of day to day tasks for them eg carrying out the shopping, all laundry, making their bed, ironing, giving support with personal care, liaising with the pharmacies, GP practice, doing gardening and missing out with family events etc. It is recommended that you admit you are not able to cope, and need support. A good starting point is to hire a cleaner to come every fortnight.

Almost all our clients past and present had no idea we were able to take them for eg bra fittings or to go to a café to enjoy a once a week coffee and cake. We introduce this as modern care. Loneliness and lack of stimulation during the day has become an increasingly problematic issue as activity centres / day centres / organisations are no longer offering what they did pre lockdown.’


Registered Manager,
Catto Homecare

Registered Address: 5 Hamesmoor Way, Mytchett GU16 6JG, UK
Opening Hours: Mondays to Thursdays 8am – 4:30pm, Fridays 8am – 4pmTel:  01276 500 522           

Food Parcels Update and The community Organisations Cost of Living Fund

By Alex Sanderson (Project Manager)

Did you know? Our Ash Villages Food Parcels Proejct received funding from the The Community Organisations Cost of Living Fund to help us keep the project going in 2023/2024. We are so grateful for this government funding, as it makes all the difference for local families. The funding ended in March and we have just finished writing up our end of grant report, so I thought you might like to see a few of the statistics.

I am so incredibly proud of this amazing volunteer team! In 23 weeks they have fed 1300 people. They have been very busy collecting donations, managing the stock, packing and delivering over 400 parcels. The funding we received stocked up the shelves to make sure we could deliver enough food, basic toiletries, and baby bank items to those in urgent need in our local villages of Ash, Ash Vale, Ash Green and Tongham.

Have a guess how many volunteer hours they have racked up between them? We had 32 different volunteers, who worked a total of 373 shifts, donating a staggering 648 hours of their time between them during these 23 weeks. What a huge thing to do for the community. Thank you all so much!

If you would like me to pass on a message to them for you, please email me and I will be sure to share it in our team chat!

Have a happy week!


MCR Pathways – Mentoring for Young People in Surrey

by Keira Jennings

MCR Pathways was established in 2007 to support young people—including those who are care-experienced or who have been recommended by their school as being able to benefit from the programme—to help them realise their full potential through education. This is enacted through our school-based mentoring programme – matching young people with a fully trained volunteer mentor.

The award-winning MCR Pathways programme is in over 130 schools across Scotland and the South East of England. Our programme’s growth and impact serve as testament to the dedication and commitment of both our volunteer mentors and the organisation as a whole. As we continue to expand our reach and deepen our impact, MCR Pathways remains unwavering in its mission to empower and support young people on their journey to fulfilling their potential.

Mentors meet with their young person for one hour in school each week to provide a regular opportunity for the young person to focus on their future, talk through any concerns, or just share thoughts and experiences. A mentor is simply an added source of support; someone there to listen, encourage, and help young people get the best out of school, increase their confidence, boost their qualifications, gain meaningful experiences, and increase their career options after school.

Our volunteer mentors come from every walk of life, background and profession. As every young person is unique, we welcome a diverse range of people to meet this growing need for mentors. No prior experience is needed, just the ability to listen and consistently be there. All it takes is an hour each week to change a young person’s future.

Join us at MCR Pathways to make a lasting connection and inspire a brighter future for young people in your community. We are looking for mentors in Surrey and are active in: Ash Manor School, Thomas Knyvett College, Christ’s College, Sunbury Manor School, Carrington School, The Beacon School and Hinchley Wood School. Further information on the MCR Pathways programme and how to become a mentor is available at


Please vote for the Food Parcels Project!

Fund our local Food Parcels Projectby giving us your vote at Co-Op! Vote online or via their App. The voting link is here:

The Ash Villages Food Parcels Project serves local people in Ash, Ash Vale, Ash Green and Tongham. We deliver emergency food and toiletries to local people in crisis, and offer a listening ear. Your vote will mean we receive more funding. Thank you for your support.

How this cause brings people in the community together: Our Food Parcels project helps local people in crisis, providing emergency food and toiletries. Referrals come from CAB, Wellbeing Team, Social Services, DWP and local churches too. As well as food, we offer a listening ear, and help to connect people to other sources of help, including Chapel Cafe and local warm hubs. We are connecting with people to battle against the anxiety, isolation and mental strain that goes hand in hand with food poverty. We can all work together to make sure that none of our neighbours go hungry. Our donors and grant funders are wonderful and the lovely team of volunteers are amazing at what they do.

So please – Vote today, and spread the word to encourage others to help us too!

Thank you.

The Ash Villages Food Parcels Project is a joint project between St Mary’s Church in Ash Vale (Revd Neil Lambert) and the Ash Villages Support Circle (Carla Morson), kindly hosted at The Chapel Project on Wharf Rd. If you need to contact us you can contact our Project Manager Alex Sanderson on  Tel.: 07730 609446

Pancake Day – Youre invited!

Join us on Tuesday 13th Feb 2024 from 10am-12:30 for some pancake day fun! Races, crafts and yummy pancakes for all ages. It’s all by donation, no set fee. Pop along and enjoy a family friendly get together at St Mary’s church, Ash Vale GU12 5JE All are welcome.

PS – We don’t have staff for this, just a lovely team of volunteers, and all help is much appreciated at tidy up time. Thank you for pitching in – many hands make light work!

pic credit

Little Lambs getting creative – come and join in!

New year, new toddler group?

Our Tuesday baby and toddler group is called Little Lambs Library and we run each week in term time 10:00-11:30 here at St Mary’s on Vale Road in Ash Vale, GU12 5JE. All welcome and it’s free / by donation. We start with a cuppa, craft and play, then the bouncy castle goes up, and we finish with story and songs.

We would love to welcome you!

Thank you – and please keep voting!

This is wonderful news! The local Food Parcels team would like to say a big thank you to everyone who voted for us recently on the Co-op Communtiy page! Your votes have helped us to raise £1,171.07 so far, to help feed local families in crisis.

Please keep voting! Every vote for St Mary’s means more funding for the Ash Villages Food Parcels Project. We need as many votes as possible before 24th October 2024, to secure further funding from the Co-op community fund for winter 2024. Please choose us as your local cause here:

Community Forum: Would you like to talk to the community team have your say? Co-op is hosting a community forum on 21st March at the Ash Parish Centre. Local people are welcome to join in and share their views. Book your place and join in to find out more by clicking on this link: Your local Coop Community forum for Ash and the surrounding villages (

Thank you for your support!

Ceileidh 3rd Feb 7.30pm – Book today!

Hello everyone, who’s up for a party? It’s time to book your tickets for the Candlemass Ceilidh on Saturday 3rd Feb 2024, doors open at 7.30pm here at St Mary’s on Vale Rd GU12 5JE.

To book please text / phone / WhatsApp our Project Manager on 07730 609446 for tickets. Please do book in advance so that we can be sure to cater. (and let us know if you have any dietary requirements!)

We are asking for a suggested donation of £10 a ticket (or give what you can afford) which includes entry, music, dancing, fun and food. (Half price for children.) The amazing Andy Johnson and team will be leading the fun, including dances, music and songs.

We will also have a bar available and a raffle on the night to help fundraise and cover our costs. Any raffle prizes gladly received, donations welcomed. See you at the party!

#CandlemasCeileidh #Dancing #CommunityFun #FamilyFriendly #Dancing #Music #Raffle #Food #ComeAndJoinUs #Community #JoinTheParty

Welcome to St Mary’s – Come along and join in!

Our regular term time community groups start back again at The Chapel and St Mary’s from 8th Jan 2024. Have a look at what’s on and do pop in to join us!

Mondays 9:30-12:30 Chapel Cafe (Warm Welcome venue) free tea / coffee / snacks / soup lunch. The Chapel, Wharf Rd, GU12 5AY

Tuesdays 10:00-11:30 Little Lambs Library (baby and toddler group with bouncy castle ages 0-4yrs) at St Mary’s, Vale Rd, GU12 5JE

Tuesdays 20:00-21:00 Choir Practise in Church (no auditions, just pop in and join us, and make a joyful noise!) at St Mary’s, Vale Rd, GU12 5JE

Wednesdays 11:00-14:00 Chapel Kids (baby and toddler group with lunch club and sensory play after lunch ages 0-4yrs) at The Chapel, Wharf Rd, GU12 5AY

Fridays 10:00-13:00 Community Cafe (warm welcome venue) free tea / coffee / biscuits and soup /toasties lunch served at 12:00 St Mary’s, Vale Rd, GU12 5JE

Sundays 10:30am church service and Sundayschool followed by refreshments in the church hall. St Mary’s, Vale Rd, GU12 5JE

All free / donations accepted. No need to book just turn up!

We look forward to welcoming you.

Join our Flowers Team!

Calling all flower arrangers! Whether you can just put fresh blooms in a jam jar, or are a skilled artist who can work with pedestals and oasis, we need your help please.

Steph needs some new volunteers to join the St Mary’s flower arranging team. You can volunteer as often as you like, no pressure to ake a weekly commiment – even once a term is a huge help. It’s a lovely job, making the church beautiful for Sunday services and special occasions.

Interested? Text us on 07730 609446 or message us on facebook @stmarysashvale and we will put you in touch with Steph. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.

#Flowers #ChurchFlowers #FlowerArranging #Community #Volunteers #ChurchDecoration #FunWithFlowers #Creativity