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King's Lynn and West Norfolk Good Neighbour Scheme steps in





Picture the scene … you are living away from where you grew up, and your elderly father is living on his own in your family home.

Neighbours have come and gone and where you used to be able to rely on someone to check in on him every now and again, now he is even more isolated and he is starting to become more withdrawn.

This is where a Good Neighbour Scheme can step in! Good Neighbour Schemes (GNS) are a community based approach to supporting people to live more independently and happier for longer. They are designed to be a safe and sustainable way of offering help with occasional tasks in the home, shopping, checking in on someone who lives alone, or a lift to an appointment. The list is endless, and every scheme is different – it’s all just based on what your community needs!

Love West Norfolk – GNS volunteers supporting the local community. Credit: North Walsham Good Neighbours
Love West Norfolk – GNS volunteers supporting the local community. Credit: North Walsham Good Neighbours

The idea is that a scheme is a safety net for people that don’t have family nearby, or someone they can call on, instead they have a number they can ring so they can just get that little bit more help. The offer of help is not just there for those who are elderly, anyone can feel isolated, so whatever your age – a GNS can help.

You could be forgiven to underestimate the value that GNS volunteers have on communities – over the pandemic Community Action Norfolk recorded nearly 10,000 requests for help from people that were isolating or advised to stay at home.

From collecting prescriptions, providing lifts to vaccination centres and helping people stay connected – GNS volunteers were a lifeline for so many.

Love West Norfolk. Volunteers and grateful neighbours. Credit: North Walsham Good Neighbours
Love West Norfolk. Volunteers and grateful neighbours. Credit: North Walsham Good Neighbours

Here are just some of the comments we’ve received: “All the things you have done for me means a lot – if I didn’t have you, where would I be?”

“Thank you most sincerely for the help given – I am so grateful for all your hard work.”

It takes commitment, effort, and plenty of enthusiasm to be a Good Neighbour volunteer however you can be assured that regardless of how much time you have available you can make a real and tangible difference in people’s lives.

If you think your village or town would benefit from becoming stronger and more resilient, our dedicated co-ordinator will be on hand to help you every step of the way to guide you through the process and help you create a scheme that works for you

Want to know more – we will be at Lynnsport for the West Norfolk Volunteering Marketplace on Thursday (July 14) between 2 and 6pm so feel free to pop along. Otherwise visit our website www.norfolkgoodneighbours.org.uk or email hello@norfolkgoodneighbours.org.uk

By Rik Martin, CEO of Community Action Norfolk



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