Good Neighbours schemes are so-called because they offer low-level help to older and vulnerable people within a community, are volunteer-led by local residents (i.e. neighbours), and contribute towards a greater quality of life for all in rural areas.
The benefits of such a scheme are vast, including:
- Decreased dependency on local healthcare services and GPs
- Decreased feelings of isolation and loneliness amongst participants
- Increased connection to the local community
- Increased ability to live independently for longer at home
- Improvement in overall health and wellbeing in participants
What does it involve?
Each scheme is operated via a central phone, often a mobile, which is held in turn by and rotated around a core group of volunteers. Anyone in a community can call the phone and speak to the current volunteer on duty, who will then locate suitable support and volunteers.
Activities and support that are usually offered in a scheme are:
- practical help
- light household repairs
- light gardening
The activities change depending on what the volunteers are able to offer and the needs of each individual.
Funding to set up a new Good Neighbours scheme
Rural Yorkshire has grants of £300 for each community wanting to set up a Good Neighbours Scheme. They will also provide support and guidance to assess the level of need in your community, set up a group of core volunteers and provide information toolkits which include volunteer guidelines, funding advice, insurance help and much more.
Communities will then be able to link into the National Network of Good Neighbours to share their stories, expertise, and hints and tips. Good Neighbours has the potential to go nationwide and change the way we live, work and care together. Be a part of it today!
Contact Martha Holmes on 0845 313 0270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Information from: Healthwatch North Yorkshire