Flourishing community neighbour scheme to expand further in Suffolk
PUBLISHED: 14:32 27 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:33 27 October 2018
A community initiative – which helps combat loneliness and isolation across Suffolk – is expanding further in the county following its huge success.
The Good Neighbour Scheme, which is led by Community Action Suffolk (CAS), now has 38 groups across Suffolk, with the latest launching this month.
The Hollesley, Boyton and Shingle Street scheme was initiated by Helen Lewis, who approached CAS with her plans earlier this year.
The scheme follows quickly on the heels of a new group in Leiston – which launched earlier this month – and a further group is due to be rolled out in Acton, near Sudbury, in January next year.
Funded by the Big Lottery, the Good Neighbour Scheme concept sees volunteers come together, 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 Scheme volunteers carry out around 18,200 hours of tasks throughout the county.
Sally Connick, who is the Good Neighbour Scheme development officer at Community Action Suffolk, said 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,” she said. “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.
“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 treasurer of the newest scheme, James Mallinder, said: “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 current schemes, contact Sally Connick on 01473 345359.