SUFFOLK is continuing to prove itself a very ‘neighbourly’ county, with yet more expansion of a hugely successful community initiative.
The Good Neighbour Scheme, which is led by Community Action Suffolk, now has some 38 groups across the county – with the latest officially launching this month.
The Hollesley, Boyton and Shingle Street Scheme was initiated by Helen Lewis who approached CAS with her plans earlier this year.
Their community scheme follows quickly on the heels of a Leiston Scheme – which launched earlier this month, and comes ahead of a further group due to roll-out in Acton in January.
Funded by the Big Lottery, the Good Neighbour Scheme concept sees volunteers come together in the heart of their locality, exploring ways in which they can help other local residents with tasks, regular contact, or daily friendship.
In one year, Suffolk sees approximately 875 Good Neighbour volunteers carry out around 18,200 hours of tasks throughout the county.
Sally Connick is the Good Neighbour Scheme Development Officer at Community Action Suffolk.She says the newest scheme is further sign of the support and enthusiasm which the initiative receives throughout the county.
“It has been great to support the latest Good Neighbour Schemes to set up. Seeing residents work together to create a scheme knowing that they will be making a difference to those who need a little help in their community,” she said.
“Loneliness and isolation is a big problem in many of our Suffolk communities and a Good Neighbour Scheme is a practical way that enables everybody to get involved. Being a volunteer can really help with your own health and wellbeing. Volunteers who dog walk feel better for the exercise and meeting new neighbours. You can both volunteer and use the scheme.”
The current network means dozens of parishes and hundreds of thousands of local residents are supported.
Treasurer of the newest scheme, James Mallinder, added: “We spent a couple of months advertising the idea and collecting lists of volunteers and ideas for the type of help which villagers wanted.
“The whole experience has been empowering and a sense of achievement has been felt by everyone involved. We now look forward to growing good neighbours within our catchment area.”
For information about establishing a new group in the county, or to find out about one close to you, contact Sally on 01473 345359.