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Good old days of being friendly to your neighbours are making a comeback, say new scheme's organisers

Sally Connick, Good Neighbourhood Scheme development officer at Community Action Suffolk. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sally Connick, Good Neighbourhood Scheme development officer at Community Action Suffolk. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

The days when everyone used to know their neighbours are a thing of the past, many believe.

One of the Good Neighbour Schemes launched in Hollesley, Boyton and Shingle Street Picture: TREVOR CONNICKOne of the Good Neighbour Schemes launched in Hollesley, Boyton and Shingle Street Picture: TREVOR CONNICK

But now the latest in a growing network of Good Neighbour Schemes being set up across Suffolk is showing that good old traditional values of looking out for those who live nearby is very much making a comeback.

More than 35 schemes have been set up across the county by Community Action Suffolk, with people volunteering to help other local residents with tasks around the house, regular contact or simply daily friendship.

The latest scheme will launch in Acton, near Sudbury, on Sunday, March 24, with Sally Connick – Good Neighbourhood Scheme development officer at Community Action Suffolk – saying: “A small group of residents felt there were people living locally who might be isolated.

“They’ve been working for many months on setting up a scheme. They felt this is something Acton might benefit from.”

The scheme will launch with an event at Acton Village Hall, The Green, Acton between 2pm and 4pm on the day.

Even though there are dozens of Good Neighbourhood Schemes across Suffolk in places such as Shingle Street and Hollesley, Mrs Connick said there is “still a long way to go”.

She added: “There are so many communities which could benefit from Good Neighbour Schemes.

“Good Neighbour Schemes are a bit like the glue that brings stuff together.

“They are really good at connecting together different parts of the community. They also look at what’s missing.”

For example some of the areas where there is a scheme lacked activities such as coffee mornings or film clubs, so new ones were set up.

Mrs Connick said the schemes are particularly important in tackling loneliness, which is seen as a growing problem in Suffolk because of the county’s rural nature.

“As time goes on, people might not know others in the village,” Mrs Connick said.

“If they’ve worked outside the village and then maybe retired or lost a partner, all of a sudden they don’t know their neighbours.

“They might have moved to be nearer family but often their families are busy and they feel like they’re a burden.

“It’s then difficult to knock on the door and say: ‘I’d like a little bit of help.’ That’s where the schemes come into their strength.

“It’s that first step and first link. They’re immediately connected to a neighbour and can start to integrate back into the community.

“It’s bringing back traditional values of how you help out your neighbour.”

For information about establishing a new group in the county, or to find out about current schemes, contact Mrs Connick on 01473 345359.

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