New volunteers needed to boost Lavenham’s growing ‘good neighbour’ scheme

Lavenham is the latest village to set up its own Good Neighbours Scheme

Lavenham is the latest village to set up its own Good Neighbours Scheme - Credit: Archant

In the 18 months since it launched, a ‘good neighbour’ scheme set up in a west Suffolk village has carried out more than 300 missions for local people who “need a helping hand”.

Lavenham Parish Council started the initiative in their village in March last year to offer assistance with everything from gardening and shopping to hospital lifts.

The group now has more than 40 active volunteers including parish councillor Doreen Twitchett who runs the scheme.

She said: “We have been really pleased with the way things have taken off, not only with volunteers but from the many people who have found the scheme useful.”

The idea has proved so popular that new volunteers are needed to boost the ranks, particularly drivers.

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Carroll Reeve, chairman of Lavenham Parish Council, said: “The scheme has gone really well and its success has outstripped the number of drivers we have got. However, we don’t want people to be put off volunteering because they think it’s only drivers we need.

“We are looking for people who can carry out all sorts of tasks from dog walking to simply having a coffee and a chat.”

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According to Robert Horn, field officer for Community Action Suffolk which helps village communities to establish their own Good Neighbours Schemes, the county now has around 30 established schemes.

He said: “For most schemes, unless they are right next to a hospital then transport to and from appointments tends to be a key issue.

“This is because there are many older people who don’t drive or have access to transport and the cost of taxis tends to be prohibitive.

“However, the need tends to vary depending on geographical location and once a group is established, it’s up to them to decide what they offer.”

Anyone in Lavenham who needs some help, or who would like to sign up to volunteer with the local scheme, can call 07922 727409.

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