Good Neighbour Scheme
Good Neighbour Schemes are set up in local communities and are groups with a bank of volunteers who want to help their neighbours and other local people on a regular or occasional basis. The people who need support may include those who are elderly, infirm, disabled or anyone who is isolated for a whole variety of reasons.
Isolation and loneliness make a big impact on people, with studies finding that they are as bad for health as smoking or obesity. With over half of people over 75 living alone, the risks are very real as our population ages, but it isn’t just limited to older people. One study has found that over 9 million people of all adult ages in the UK are always or often lonely and even those with families can be affected.
It’s not surprising that people want to help but it’s really important that support is given safely and appropriately in a Good Neighbour Scheme. They are not replacements for social workers or other professionals but they can assist some people to stay independent for as long as they want to as well as encouraging a sense of community. This guide will take you through the practicalities of running a Scheme and will give you a good basis to get you on your way.
What sort of tasks could you do in your Good Neighbour Scheme?
There are a whole range of different types of support that you could give to the individuals in your community. These include:
- Befriending or visiting those who are lonely or isolated
- Shopping collection for those who are struggling to get out and about
- Prescription collection
- Support with form filling or letter writing
- Small DIY tasks like changing lightbulbs, hanging curtains, checking smoke alarms
- Gardening tasks
- Walking dogs
- Help for carers or families
- Reading to those with sight loss
- Providing transport for appointments or social club attendances
This list is not exhaustive and you might find that other things are needed in your community. You don’t have to provide all of these tasks, it’s up to you as a scheme to decide what you want to offer.
Interested in knowing more?
Support Staffordshire are keen to support newer groups to continue long term so that communities can continue to benefit from the good community links that have been established due to the pandemic.
Every district in Staffordshire has a Locality Officer who can work closely with you providing the advice and guidance needed to get established for the benefit of all.